Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman tweeted this photo which shows a Samsung banner being pulled down in Tehran. February 14, 2020. (Twitter)

February 17, 2020

On Friday, referring to the two Korean giants Samsung and LG that have left the Iranian market under the pressure of the U.S. sanctions, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman said it would be much more difficult to return later for those who were “strong-armed by the United States to leave”.

Iran was a key market for the products of the two South Korean companies including TV and audio sets, home appliances, air conditioners and mobile phones.

The two Korean giants have for many years held a huge portion of Iran’s audio-visual accessories and home appliances market but Samsung also has a huge share in the market for tablets and smartphones.

Both companies assembled some of their products in Iran but cut down on providing products and parts to Iran and have now completely stopped.

In his tweet on Friday which came with a photo of workers pulling down a Samsung banner, Mousavi said that Iranians will “not forget friends who stand by their side at times of hardship”. The two companies which stopped selling to Iran two years ago under the pressure of sanctions had not stopped their advertising in Iran.

According to Alireza Mousavi Majd, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Association for Audio and Video Accessories, the infrastructure left by Samsung and LG will be used by their Iranian subsidiary companies, namely SAM Service and Goldiran, to manufacture home appliances and electronics such as TV sets and computer monitors.

Samsung, like most other leading brands, stopped directly selling smartphones to Iran when the sanctions began. Samsung was officially represented in Iran and used to run after-sales service centers in major cities.

However, illegally imported smartphones of various brands such as Samsung and Apple are still quite abundant in the market.

In an email to its subscribers on February 10 Samsung informed them that from February 25 they will not be able to buy its products and applications from its Galaxy Store, but free applications will still be available to download.

The company cited money transfer issues as their reason for the decision. Unlike other brands Samsung allowed Iranian customers to use Iranian currency to purchase products from Samsung Play Store.

Aydin Aram, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Importers of Mobile Phones, Tablets, recently said that Samsung had a share of more than 60% in the Iranian smartphone market.

“Under Washington’s sanctions, no foreign company in Iran is capable of providing services to the Iranians, or transfer money,” Aram said about Samsung’s recent decision.

Based on the latest data available, nearly eighteen million Iranians had Samsung phones as of February 2018, Iran’s largest app market Café Bazaar says.

RFE-RL

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.