Technology | World

Iran's President Wished Jews 'A Blessed Rosh Hashanah.' Or Did He?

NPR | Sept. 8, 2013 7:12 a.m.

Contributed By:

Scott Neuman

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends Iran's Assembly of Experts in Tehran earlier this week. Did he tweet a greeting to the world's Jews on Rosh Hashanah?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends Iran's Assembly of Experts in Tehran earlier this week. Did he tweet a greeting to the world's Jews on Rosh Hashanah?

AFP/Getty Images, Behrouz Mehri

It sounded a bit far fetched, and perhaps it was.

Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust and threatened to wipe Israel off the map. But his successor, President Hassan Rouhani, considered a relative moderate by contrast, has taken a somewhat softer tone. So, when Rouhani allegedly tweeted the following, it was quickly became news:

Several news organizations, including CBS, MSNBC and The Washington Post, picked up the story.

However, it’s unclear whether the tweet really came from Rouhani. The account above appears at first blush to be legitimate, with some 30,000 followers (although many of them apparently have begun following in the last several hours). Also, there’s another account for “Dr. Hassan Rouhani” that also looks and feels legit.

In any case, the Fars News Agency (FNA), considered Iran’s leading independent news agency, quoted presidential adviser Mohammad Reza Sadeq throwing cold water on the authenticity of the message:

“President Hassan Rouhani has no tweeter account,” Sadeq said, explaining that “proponents and fans of Mr. Rouhani were active in the cyberspace during the recent presidential election in Iran and used many web pages with titles similar or close to Mr. Rouhani (‘s name) to run their activities.”

Sadeq added that “any official news on him (the president) is released by the presidential office” and that “only the news released through this conduit is official.”

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