On Wednesday, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, a message was posted on Rouhani's English-language Twitter account where he wished all Jews a happy Jewish New Year. “As the sun is about to set here in Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” the tweet read. A day later, as the message was analyzed abroad and in Iran, the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted a Rouhani aide as saying that the account was no longer active. That appeared to be a dodge, especially since the same account was also used Thursday to announce the change in Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.
In only his second tweet, Iran's new Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wished Jews a "Happy Rosh Hashanah." Zarif even replied to a tweet from Christine Pelosi, the daughter of US House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said to him: "Thanks. The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran's Holocaust denial, sir" by distancing himself from Iran's former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Zarif first tweeted "The man who did is now gone," but then deleted that post and replied again to clarify: "The man who was perceived to be denying [the Holocaust] is now gone." The foreign minister confirmed to CNN that he did write those tweets and was aware he was responding to Nancy Pelosi's daughter. Rouhani also retweeted Zarif's "Happy Rosh Hashanah" post.
Access to Twitter is officially banned for most Iranians.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said that while the Iranian leaders' message were "a surprising gesture and a welcome change in tone", “words are meaningless if they are not backed up by credible actions. Until Iran ends its support for the enemies of the Jewish state, until it stops providing support to terrorist groups targeting Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide, and a regime that is gassing thousands of its own citizens in order to remain in power, these words sound hollow.”
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "not impressed", and that the Iranian regime would "be judged only by its actions and not by greetings" whose purpose, he said, was to deflect attention from its nuclear program. He called on the international community to strengthen sanctions on Iran meant to curb its nuclear activities.
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