Netanyahu unimpressed with holiday greetings from Iran

Sunday, September 08, 2013 |  Tommy Mueller

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded to the Rosh Hashanah (New Year) wishes from the new Iranian president and his secretary by calling on the international community to expand sanctions against Iran.

Netanyahu underlined that one must measure the Iranian regime by its deeds and not by flowery rhetoric. By Israel's assessment, the Rosh Hashanah greetings posted to Twitter by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were meant to divert attention from Iran's ongoing defiant nuclear program.

The Iranian president had congratulated the Jews in Iran and around the world for Rosh Hashanah. Rouhani wrote on Twitter: "While the sun goes down here in Tehran, I wish all Jews, especially the Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah." Such a greeting had never been offered by a leader of the Islamic Republic.

The greeting resulted in immediate speculation in the international media that Iran's position vis-a-vis the Jewish state was changing. But Israeli experts countered that Rouhani had come to power only with the approval of Iran's ruling Islamic clerics, and had been chosen because of his diplomatic veneer.

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