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Olympics committee apologies to Iran

AFP  |  Tehran 

Pyeongchang Olympic organisers said they had apologised to today after a diplomatic furore over its athletes being denied special phones issued for the Games.

The head of the Pyeongchang organising committee, Lee Hee-beom, confirmed he had written to the Iranian team "to apologise for the misunderstanding".

The problem started on Wednesday, when Games organisers said Iranian and North Korean athletes would be refused the Galaxy Note 8 devices from sponsor Samsung, loaded with essential logistical and competition information.

Although the organisers later backtracked, it sparked anger in Iran, where has a major commercial presence, and its athletes refused to accept the phones until there was a full apology.

The source of the misunderstanding was not explained.

The committee had initially claimed the phones were denied "because of existing UN sanctions", even though all UN sanctions on were lifted in 2015 apart from those linked to arms and nuclear

billboards and flagship stores are seen all over Iran, and the South Korean company has sponsored many large- scale cultural events, including the current exhibition at the

Samsung sought to distance itself from the spat, saying in a statement that it was "not responsible for the distribution of the phones" and referring questions to organisers.

Prior to the apology, Iran's official agency reported that was looking into the issue, and was considering whether to block imports of Samsung phones.

reported Thursday that "an informed source" had said would stop using his if there was no apology.

Although this was not confirmed, the report appeared to trigger a series of "No to Samsung" protests on

"If I were a famous person, in response to Samsung's big insult, I would have thrown my away on camera, and would have asked other famous people to join me," wrote one user.

Others had a more light-hearted response, with one saying he had slammed the door of his Samsung fridge particularly hard after hearing the

"The fact that our revolutionary friends haven't climbed the walls of the is a big improvement in itself," joked another user.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 22:25 IST