Iran firms told: cut ties to "Zionist"-held firms

TEHRAN, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Iran's industries minister told Iranian firms on Monday to suspend commercial links with international companies which might have "Zionist" shareholders, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.

Iran does not recognise Israel and Iranian firms and individuals are banned from dealings with Israel or Israelis, often referred to as the "Zionist regime" and "Zionists" respectively.

Monday's order suggested the government was going beyond the usual scope of Israeli companies and focusing on other international firms with Israel-linked investors, but did not name any particular firm.

Industries Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian "called for the suspension of commercial ties by all domestic companies with foreign international firms part or all of whose stocks might be owned by Zionists," ISNA reported.

It said this was a "a show of solidarity with the innocent Palestinian nation and in response to the crimes by the Zionist regime against the defenceless Gaza people."

Iran has condemned Israel's 10-day-old air and land offensive against Gaza, which Israel said it launched to stop Palestinian militants firing rockets into southern Israel.

Tehran has accused Western and some Arab countries of not helping the Palestinians enough.

The minister said Iranian dealings with firms with "Zionist" shareholdings should be suspended until the relevant authorities "make a final decision in this connection", ISNA said without giving further details. (Reporting by Hossein Jaseb and Hashem Kalantari, writing by Edmund Blair, editing by Tim Pearce)