"Israeli" oranges found in Iranian markets did not originate in Israel, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported Sunday.
Local media reported that the fruit was imported in boxes marked as Chinese, and a news agency showed pictures of boxes containing fruit bearing a Jaffa label.
It was later revealed that the fruit, a type of orange-grapefruit hybrid marketed as Jaffa Sweetie, were not Israeli in the first place. They were brought to Iran from China, where faking the origin of goods is a common practice.
Fears that the Iranian ban on imports from its arch foe Israel was flouted by the sale of Jaffa oranges had sparked an inquiry in Tehran, the BBC reported, prompting Tehran authorities to ask the judiciary to take action.
An Iranian official even accused the opposition of being responsible for the "citrus fruit plot", and the Iranian police launched an investigation.
According to the reports, the police decided to ban the sale of the oranges found in the stores for fear of being in defiance of a ban on commercial dealings between the two enemy states.
Tal Amit, the general manager of Israel's Citrus Marketing Board, told the BBC the fruit had not originated in his country.
"First of all, it's a bit annoying that somebody is using our brand name and registered trademark without our permission," he said.
"Apart from this, I would like very much the Iranian people to eat Israeli fruit straight from the origin and not via China. But the politics is not allowing us to do any commercial relations with Tehran at the moment while back 30 to 40 years ago, Tehran was a superb market for our fruit."
Israel exports oranges and other citrus fruit to the Far East's richest markets, Japan and South Korea, which may explain the prestige of the fruit in the eyes of Chinese exporters and their temptation to counterfeit it.