Is someone in the Iranian government secretly subscribing to Israel’s HOT cable service?

Tehran is considering a ban on Samsung to protest an irreverent advertisement for HOT that makes light of the mysterious explosions in the Islamic Republic and the war of words being waged between the Islamic Republic and Israel, an Iranian lawmaker told his country’s state-run Press TV on Saturday.

In the ad produced by HOT, in which the Samsung Galaxy Tab computer is offered as an enticement for prospective customers to sign up for HOT’s on-demand package, a bored Mossad agent in an Iranian wasteland meets with three characters from the Israeli comedy series Asfur who are dressed in drag.

Casting furtive glances at passersby, the agent shows off the Samsung tablet and says he kills time on assignment watching “on-demand” episodes of Asfur on the tablet.

At the end of the clip, Newton, Asfur’s loveable moron, accidentally activates an application that detonates a nuclear reactor on the horizon. Moments later, one of the Asfur buddies, Moti, the series’ protagonist, swats a fly that lands on his neck, and curses “Ya Khomeini!” at the insect.

“Khomeini” is Israeli slang for Maladera insanabilis, a beetle drawn to the light of Tel Aviv stairwells during the summer. The pesky winged beetle acquired the name because the species is believed to have been accidentally imported to Israel in the late 1970s by a traveler returning from Iran.



Iran holds the Mossad responsible for a series of opaque accidents and killings of scientists from the country’s nuclear program. In the most recent incident, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was on his way to work at the Natanz nuclear plant on January 11 when he was killed by a magnetic bomb attached to his car door by a passing motorcyclist.

Arsalan Fathipour, who heads the Iranian parliament’s energy committee, said on Saturday that the country could impose an urgent and complete ban on buying all Samsung products, according to Press TV.

Responding to the Iranian threat, the South Korean electronics giant issued a statement saying, “Samsung Electronics is aware of a recent news report in Iranian media regarding an advertisement aired by HOT cable network of Israel. This advertisement was produced by HOT cable network without Samsung’s knowledge or participation.

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

The HOT ad isn’t the first time that Israeli advertisers have mixed black humor and espionage. In 2010, Israeli supermarket chain Mahsenei Kimat Hinam (Almost Free Warehouses, Ltd.) aired an ad that poked fun at the killing of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010, which many believe was carried out by the Mossad. In the ad, surveillance-camera footage is shown of actors portraying a hit team, perusing the aisles of a Mahsenei Kimat Hinam branch.

“We have killer prices,” the ad’s tagline read, and it included a double entendre of “clearance sale,” which in Hebrew is the same word used for liquidation or targeted killings.

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