Netanyahu derides Iranian holiday greetings


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “not impressed” by New Year’s greetings supposedly tweeted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

“I am not impressed by greetings coming from a regime that only last week threatened to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said Saturday night, according to Israeli media reports.

The tweet posted Sept. 4, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, said, “As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.”

Rouhani’s office has not denied the account, @HassanRouhani, belongs to the the recently elected president and it is believed the account would not persist without his approval.

Rouhani was elected this year as a relative moderate ostensibly willing to make the nuclear program in Iran more transparent. But he has resisted calls by Western states and Israel to reduce his country’s uranium enrichment.

“The Iranian regime will be examined only by its actions and not by salutations,” Netanyahu also said Saturday night, following the two days of Rosh Hashanah and the Jewish Sabbath.

Netanyahu said the purpose of the message “is to divert attention from the fact that even after the elections, it continues the enrichment of uranium and the construction of a plutonium reactor meant to allow it to develop nuclear weapons that will threaten Israel and the rest of the world.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also tweeted “Happy Rosh Hashanah,” the second tweet on his newly opened account.

In a Twitter exchange, Christine Pelosi, daughter of ranking House Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who has a Jewish husband, challenged Zarif over Iranian Holocaust denial.

“Thanks,” she tweeted. “The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran’s Holocaust denial, sir.”

Zarif replied, “Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone. Happy New Year.”

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