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Commentator warns of Samsung losing profit due to smartphone spat

Sputnik – Tehran has reprimanded Samsung Electronics, one of the sponsors of the 2018 Winter Olympics, for refusing to hand its new smartphones to Iranian athletes, allegedly due to sanctions slapped on the Islamic Republic. The move, however, may backfire on Samsung, Iranian sports commentator Mostafa Shoughi has told Sputnik.

Iranian sports commentator Mostafa Shoughi said that Samsung’s reluctance to issue Iranian athletes its new smartphones is “not just a stupid move, but also a gross violation of the National Olympic Committee Charter.”

“The organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, through the event’s sponsors, resorted to real discrimination, depriving our athletes of a symbolic, albeit expensive gift[…] The organizers humiliated the national identity, honor and pride of the country. This action indicates complete ignorance [on the part] of the organizers of the 2018 Olympics,” Shoughi stressed.

Referring to Tehran boosting full-fledged cooperation with a number of countries after the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, he said that “apart from the politicization of sports, the organizers of the 2018 Olympics are very far from the political and economic realities that are taking place in the region.”

“They created this precedent, which is devoid of common sense, just to please the US and the West,” Shoughi pointed out.

He recalled that Iran remains a major market for Samsung products, which is why “this psychological blow may backfire on the company and damage its profit.”

Shoughi also pointed to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s warning not to use the Samsung phone if the company does not offer apologies.

“This, in turn, can become a large-scale campaign for the boycott of Samsung products as the Iranian people under any circumstances and in any form will not tolerate the humiliation of their national identity and dignity,” Shoighi concluded.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Iranian athlete has, meanwhile, told Sputnik that “Samsung issued a Galaxy Note 8 to all athletes participating in the Olympics, including Iranians” and that it had been Korean authorities who “did not hand in the gadgets to Iranian athletes.”

The press service of the 2018 Olympics’ Organizing Committee, for its part, told Sputnik that “the issue of Samsung phones is the prerogative of the IOC [International Olympic Committee] because neither the Organizing Committee nor Samsung has such rights.”

Reuters, in turn, quoted an IOC spokesperson as saying on Friday that “the IOC will provide mobile phones to all athletes of all countries” taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics, given that “these phones contain essential logistical and competition information for the athletes.”

Earlier, it was reported that Samsung Electronics, which is one of the sponsors of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, is expected to offer at least 4,000 Galaxy Note 8 Olympic Edition phones to all athletes and International Olympic Committee officials, excluding 22 North Korean and four Iranian athletes.

The Games, which kicked off in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang earlier on Friday, are scheduled to wrap up on February 25.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.