Netanyahu dismisses Iran’s Rosh Hashanah greetings

Prime minister says Tehran trying to divert world’s attention from nuclear program, will be judged on actions, not words

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening shrugged off Rosh Hashanah wishes conveyed by Iranian officials on social media earlier in the week, saying Tehran would be judged on actions, not words.

“I am not impressed by [holiday] greetings coming from a regime that only last week threatened to destroy Israel,” the prime minister said, referring to threats by Iran to retaliate against Israel for an American military strike against the Assad regime following its alleged chemical weapons use.

Both President Hasan Rouhani’s staff and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted “Happy Rosh Hashanah” in English to their followers, to the surprise of Western onlookers. Zarif also condemned the Holocaust, denouncing “the massacre of Jews by the Nazis.”

Netanyahu said the aim of Iran’s latest Twitter campaign is only to divert the world’s attention from the fact that, even after Rouhani’s election, Tehran continues to develop nuclear weapons which would threaten Israel and the world at large.

“The Iranian regime will be examined only by its actions, and not by salutations,” Netanyahu said.

Zarif, in a follow-up conversation with California Senator Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, clarified that any Holocaust denial was done by a man who is “now gone” — a reference to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Despite the hubbub over Iran’s seeming New Year outreach to the Jewish world, Netanyahu issued a stolid warning to the international community, saying it “should not be caught up in illusions, but require actions and not words.”

On Wednesday, Jews around the world received an unexpected holiday greeting from someone claiming to be Rouhani, who 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.” But Iranian officials said the president was not responsible, and that the account was presumably that of a fan.

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