Olympic Officials Reverse Decision Banning North Korean And Iranian Athletes From Getting Free Samsung Smartphones, Says Report

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

Winter Olympic athletes from North Korea and Iran are now allowed to receive top of the line smartphones originally only bestowed to the rest of competitors, Reuters reported Thursday.

The initial electronics disbarment stemmed from United Nations sanctions, according to the Agence France-Presse. But organizers reversed the decision after receiving complaints from Iran, reports Reuters.

“If Samsung does not apologize 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.

North Koreans, however, will not be allowed to take the phones back to their home country, either as mementos or personal devices.

“The IOC [International Olympic Committee] will provide mobile phones to all athletes of all countries participating at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018,” an IOC representative told Reuters. “These phones contain essential logistical and competition information for the athletes.”

North Korea is sending 22 athletes to compete in the Olympics, which are taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Ten of those athletes will be directly participating for their country, while the rest will be part of the Korean women’s ice hockey team, which combines Olympians from both of the countries.

Iran is sending four of its best to vie for the honors of the sporting events.

The “Olympic edition” smartphones cost roughly $920, well over the average for Samsung, meaning they are likely fully equipped with advanced features, and unique to the global games.

Samsung, a consistent sponsor of the Olympics, has been furnishing special mobile devices for athletes since 1997, according to The Verge.

Samsung did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for further details in time of publication.

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