A simple Rosh Hashanah blessing was issued via Twitter by a surprising figure: Iran’s newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani.
YNET News (h/t Maurice) According to the report, Iran’s Jewish population, estimated in a 2011 census to number fewer than 9,000 people, comprises only a tiny fraction of Iran’s population – though the State Department and religious leaders estimate that number could be upwards of 20,000. The Muslim majority account for an overwhelming 99.4%.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, also tweeted in light of the Jewish New Year on Thursday: “Happy Rosh Hashanah,” The Independent reported.
According to The Independent, Christine Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the US House of Representatives, responded to Zarif’s greeting with a reminder of Iran’s alleged Holocaust denial, but Zarif replied: “Iran never denied (the Holocaust). The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone,” referring to Ahmadinejad’s notorious Holocaust denial.
With Islam as the foundation of Iranian law, Persian Jews and other religious minorities, including nearly all non-Shiia religious groups, have faced years of discrimination. While Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians are granted freedom of religion “within the limits” of the Constitution, many have faced harassment and imprisonment at the government’s hands, MSNBC reported.
Rohani has made clear from the beginning of his campaign that he believes in equal rights for all minorities, and that would of course include the Jewish minority,” Iranian-American author and NBC News contributor Hooman Majd told MSNBC.com.