According to organizers of the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, U.N. sanctions currently in place against Iran and North Korea mean that athletes from those countries won't be taking part in at least one highlight of this year's festivities. Specifically, athletes and their staff from those countries aren't eligible for any of the 4,000 Olympic-edition Samsung Galaxy Note 8 devices the tech giant is passing out in honor of the games being held in its home country. That's because the top-of-the-line handsets qualify as "luxury goods" due to their nearly $1,000 price tag. That qualification means that the devices can't be given to the above-mentioned team members while sanctions against delivery of those types of goods to those nations still stand. Meanwhile, all other athletes and even International Olympic Committee officials will receive those devices completely free of charge.
With regard to the sanctions themselves, it isn't immediately clear why Iran is included. That isn't to say that the country is not currently under sanctions preventing luxury goods to be delivered. Instead, Iran has fluctuated between self-imposed bans on luxury items and U.N.-determined sanctions with such frequency as to cause conflicting reports about the specific reasons for this decision. Although the most recent official ban appears to have been lifted in 2016, it seems as though Samsung and officials are wary to allow the delivery of the smartphones in question due to the ambiguous nature of current sanctions that are still in place. Iran currently has four athletes competing in two event types for the games. On the other hand, North Korea's sanctions are the result of continued nuclear testing and increased tensions along the North and South Korean border. As a result, 22 North Korean athletes won't be receiving one of Samsung's Olympic-edition Galaxy Note 8 devices.
For those who may not already know, the Olympic edition of the Galaxy Note 8 is the same as every other variant on the inside. However, it features a distinct white rear panel emblazoned with the Olympic symbol and lettering, gold trim on both the device and its S Pen, and custom software from Samsung – which is based on Android Nougat. Beyond that, it comes with custom PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games wallpapers and a custom-themed protective case.