Last Update 0:1
Monday, 26 February 2018

IOC clears Iran, North Korea for gift after Samsung phone row

Reuters , Thursday 8 Feb 2018
Winter Olympics
PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, Paralympics mascot Bandabi and the Olympic Rings are displayed at the Gyeongpodae beach in Gangneung, South Korea, October 31, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1302
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1302

Iranian and North Korean athletes at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will receive Samsung mobile phones, organisers said on Thursday, after Iran summoned South Korea’s ambassador over reports its athletes would not get the gifts.

News reports said 4,000 of the latest $1,100 Samsung smartphones were being given to athletes attending the Winter Games, but athletes from Iran and North Korea would be excluded because of sanctions against the two countries.

Responding to the furore, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said athletes from both countries would receive the phones but that the North Koreans would be asked not to take the devices home.

“The IOC will provide mobile phones to all athletes of all countries participating at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018. These phones contain essential logistical and competition information for the athletes,” an IOC spokesperson said.

“Regarding Iran, we can confirm that all participants will be able to keep the phones. Regarding North Korea, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country,” the spokesperson added.

An Olympics organiser told Reuters last week that South Korea was unsure if North Korean athletes would be eligible to receive the phones because of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

The official declined to elaborate, but experts say the phone could violate a U.N. ban on the sale of luxury items and electronics with a potential “dual” commercial and military use.

Envoy summoned

Iran summoned South Korea’s ambassador to Tehran to the Foreign Ministry, to explain the phone snub.

“If Samsung does not apologise for its unwise action, this will greatly affect Samsung’s trade relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran”, the state news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

A spokesman for Seoul’s foreign ministry spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

Samsung said the IOC was responsible for distributing gifts at the Olympics and it had no further comment.

Iran has four competitors at the 2018 Winter Olympics. North Korea has 10 athletes entered to represent their nation, and 12 more in the combined North and South Korea women’s ice-hockey team.

Tough international sanctions including travel restrictions and a ban on the sale of luxury goods and sports gear have complicated South Korean Olympic organisers’ efforts to provide their northern neighbours with the same benefits available to other Olympians.

However, it was unclear why that would affect Iranian athletes, as Samsung products are widely available for sale in Iran, which has good diplomatic and trade relations with South Korea. Almost 18 million Iranians have Samsung phones, according to Iran’s largest app market, Café Bazaar.

A source from within the Olympic movement told Reuters a delay in delivering the phones had been due to “a misunderstanding”.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.