South Korean tech giants including Samsung Electronics may face punitive measures by Iran in relation to business decisions that may have been influenced by US sanctions, reports and industry watchers said Tuesday.
According to news reports, Iran could refuse entry of Samsung executives and staff and impose a partial ban on registration of Samsung phones with the Iranian mobile network, according to Mohammad Jafar Na’nakar, head of the legal department of the Iranian Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, on Tuesday.
The remarks came after Samsung decided to scale back its services in the country. Samsung recently decided to shut down service of the Galaxy Store app for Iranian users.
The Iranian official was quoted as saying, “Samsung’s restrictions on Iranians’ access to the Galaxy Store, which is due to be enforced in early March, would create massive difficulties for app developers and businesses in Iran.”
If Samsung does not reconsider its decision, Iran could deliberately increase cooperation with China’s Huawei and Xiaomi, the official added.
Some local media outlets reported that Samsung and LG Electronics took down their advertisement banners in Iran on Friday.
Samsung’s headquarters in Seoul declined to comment on the issue.
Samsung is forecast to account for over 50 percent of the Iranian smartphone market. Around 10 million units of phones are sold every year in Iran, according to news reports.
By Song Su-hyun (email@example.com