Mullahs Mull Ban on Samsung over ‘Insulting’ Ad

February 5, 2012  

Iran is upset over a television promotional spot for Israeli cable provider HOT, and is threatening to ban an electronics firm whose product is featured in the spot. The commercial shows the characters from a popular show, Asfur, portraying Mossad agents dressed up as women, at an outdoor cafe somewhere in Iran. 

The characters are impressed by a Samsung Galaxy tablet and accidentally press a button that causes a nearby Iranian nuclear facility to explode.

The cable provider is offering the tablet to new subscribers.

Samsung Electronics said on Saturday it had not been involved in the production of the spot. “We have absolutely nothing to do with this television spot,” a spokesman for the electronics giant told AFP. The commercial was produced by HOT “without Samsung’s knowledge or participation,” the company said in a statement. “It should be noted that HOT cable network utilized a GALAXY Tab in its advertisement solely as a promotional gift.”

“As a member of the global community, Samsung is committed to demonstrating respect for all people and cultures around the globe,” it added.

A senior Iranian legislator said Iran’s Majlis Energy Committee was considering a plan to ban on Samsung products. Arsalan Fat’hipour, who heads the Majlis Energy Committee, said the commercial was insulting. He told Iran’s Press TV that it depicted Iran as a “primitive society” and suggested Israel was “powerful enough to easily destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities or assassinate the country’s nuclear scientists.”

The Iranian reaction may have some diplomatic rationale behind it. Al Arabiya notes that South Korea – which is home to Samsung – is under pressure from Washington to join U.S.-led sanctions on Iranian oil over Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. South Korea imports nearly 10 percent of its crude from Iran.

Seoul recently added more than 100 names to a financial blacklist of Iranian firms and individuals but it stopped short of announcing a ban on imports of petrochemicals or crude oil.

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