Surprise: Iran Leader Sends Jews Holiday Wishes

Rouhani tweets about 'blessed Rosh Hoshanah'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 4, 2013 6:47 PM CDT

(Newser) – The old Iranian president called the Holocaust a hoax. The new one? He's reportedly tweeting wishes of goodwill to Jews as Rosh Hashanah begins, reports BuzzFeed: "As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah," says the tweet from Hasan Rouhani, referring to the Jewish new year. Rouhani is universally described as far more moderate than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Assuming the tweet is legit—it may have come from his media office rather than the man himself—Rouhani seems "to be offering a very small gesture of goodwill at least partially toward Israelis, who can usually expect nothing but hateful rhetoric from Iranian rulers," writes Max Fisher at the Washington Post. "It’s not exactly a unilateral declaration of peace—tomorrow, Iran will probably still support Hezbollah—but it’s yet another hint of Rouhani’s efforts to dramatically soften Iranian foreign policy and rhetoric."

Iran President Hasan Rouhani.
Iran President Hasan Rouhani.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
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