Sunday, May 29, 2011
Iran in uproar over 'Israeli fruit'
Tehran's Trade Ministry fights off exporter's claims that Islamic Republic is importing apples, oranges from Israel
Have Israeli fruits found their way to Iran? Deputy Iranian Trade Minister Hamid Safdel denied Sunday reports that the Islamic Republic has been importing fruit – mainly apple and oranges – from Israel.
The allegations were made by a senior Iranian exporter, who said the Israeli produce was finding its way to Tehran's markets via a third party.
Safdel stressed that "any kind of trade with the Zionists is forbidden… Since the inception of the Islamic Republic in 1979 no Zionist goods have been granted an import permit, even if they arrive through a third party."
He further dismissed the reports as "unrealistic," adding that "whoever made these allegations is basing them on external import data. There is no reasonable proof of this, so the statement cannot be believed."
Iran's media reported over the weekend that a senior exporter based in Tehran criticized the government's lack of support of Iranian farmers, saying "Why are we importing apples from Israel? There is no need."
The exporter was further quoted as saying that some of the fruit imported was dangerous: "The majority of imported fruits are laced with materials meant to keep them fresh. These materials are carcinogens."
Last week, Mustafa Zulqadar, a member of the Iranian Parliamentary Economics Committee, blamed Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia of exporting Israeli oranges to Iran under a different name, alleging that "these countries do not grow enough oranges to sustain such exports to Iran.
"The Zionist regime is one of the biggest orange exporters in the world," he added.