Jews around the world received an unexpected holiday greeting on Wednesday — from new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.
Rouhani, considered by some to be a relative reformer, took to his Twitter account to say, “As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.”
During this year’s presidential election campaign he decried his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s broadsides against Jews as “hate rhetoric.”
The tweet was accompanied by a 2011 photo of an Iranian Jew praying at Tehran Synagogue.
The office of the recently elected Iranian president has not denied that the account, @HassanRouhani, is his and it is believed that it would not persist without his approval.
A 2012 census revealed that there were fewer than 9,000 Jews left in Iran.
The Iranian president said last month that his countrymen elected him to change the country’s foreign policy and shift away from the bombastic style adopted under Ahmadinejad.
“People in the June 14 elections declared that they want a new foreign policy,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 4, 2013
Rouhani has pledged to follow a policy of moderation and ease tensions with the outside world. He has also vowed to improve an economy ravaged by international sanctions and mismanagement by empowering technocrats. However, he has given no sign of a willingness to push to halt Iran’s rogue nuclear program.
He won a landslide victory in the June presidential elections, defeating his conservative rivals. Rouhani took the oath of office on August 4 and Iran’s parliament approved all but three of his proposed ministers last month.
The core of Rouhani’s team includes figures whose academic pedigrees run through places such as California, Washington, Paris and London.
The Associated Press and JTA contributed to this report.