Iran's Winter Olympics athletes will get to keep their Samsung smart phones

Yahoo Sports

Iran has plenty of oil under its soil, but that didn’t stop the Middle Eastern nation from playing the part of squeaky wheel in South Korea and getting rewarded accordingly.

According to the South China Morning Post, the nation’s Winter Olympics athletes will be allowed to keep their limited-edition Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smart phones when they leave PyeongChang after lodging complaints with the South Korean ambassador in Tehran.

The International Olympic Committee had initially declined to furnish the Iranians with the $1,100 phones over concerns about U.N. sanctions.

That ruling prompted a series of stern responses from Iran, which sent four athletes — two alpine skiiers and two cross-country skiiers — to the Winter Games and has long welcomed Samsung’s products within its borders, thanks to strong diplomatic and economic relations with South Korea.

Athletes from Iran arrive during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Athletes from Iran arrive during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif threatened to discontinue the use of his own Samsung device. According to the Washington Post’s Adam Taylor, Iran’s Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs blasted the exclusion as “an insult to our athletes, who are representatives of the great, civilized Iranian people, and our peace messengers.”

The country’s chief prosecutor reportedly called for the arrest of Samsung’s CEO (of which there are three), characterizing the company’s refusal to issue phones as an affront to Islam.


“Regarding Iran, we can confirm that all participants will be able to keep the phones,” an IOC official said.

That leaves North Korea as the lone nation whose participants in PyeongChang won’t be allowed to bring the phones home with them. According to the Yonhap News Agency’s Kang Yoon-seung, the 22 North Korean athletes in PyeongChang pre-empted the gifts by declining to accept the Samsung smart phones in the first place.

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