Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 30
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iranian Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh defended decision of issuing license for imports of Marlboro cigarettes.
He said that the cigarette brand producer is not related to Israel, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Nov. 30.
He added that after investigations it was clarified that the issue of ties between Israel and Philip Morris Company is not true.
So the ministry issued the license for legal imports of Marlboro cigarettes to prevent smuggling, Nematzadeh said.
The ministry has issued necessary licenses for importing and producing 12 billion Marlboro cigarettes, according to Iranian media outlets which has triggered objections by Iranian hardliner MPs calling the US firm a "Zionist company."
In mid-November head of the Article 90 Commission of the Iranian Parliament, Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar said the parliament has summoned the foreign and industry, mine, and trade ministers over the case of Marlboro cigarettes imports.
"The Foreign Ministry, six months ago, sent us a long list of companies that may have ties with the Zionist regime and the name of the company Philip Morris was included in the list. But surprisingly the Industry, Mine, and Trade Ministry issued license for the company over a month ago, saying they couldn't find any proof about the company's relations with Tel Aviv," he said.
Marlboro is the largest selling brand of cigarettes in the world. It is made by Philip Morris USA (a branch of Altria) within the US, and by Philip Morris International (now separate from Altria) outside the US.