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Iran's Foreign Minister Issues Jewish New Year Greetings

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (file photo)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (file photo)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has issued a Jewish New Year greeting to Jews in Iran and around the world on Twitter amid a time of heightened tensions between Iran and Israel.

"As the sun gives way to the moon, I wish all my Jewish compatriots and Jews worldwide a very Happy New Year filled with peace and harmony. Happy Rosh Hashanah," Zarif said in his tweet on September 9.

Mainly Muslim Iran does not recognize Israel and has over the years vowed to destroy the Jewish state. Iranian President Hassan Rohani on September 8 named the United States and Israel as Iran's main enemies.

Israel, meanwhile, on September 5 vowed to "destroy any Iranian military presence" in Syria, where Tehran has intervened to prop up President Bashar al-Assad in a more than seven-year war.

Iran has had a Jewish community since ancient times, but the number of members has fallen to around 10,000 from 85,000 just before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Most are in Tehran but also in Isfahan and Shiraz.

The Jewish community is allocated one member of parliament. Armenian Christians have two members, while Assyrian-Chaldeans and Zoroastrians have one each.

Many Iranian Jews have complained they are not treated equally under the law.

Zarif and Rohani have issued similar greetings in the past and have tweeted pictures of ceremonies held by members of the Jewish community in Iran.

Based on reporting by Reuters and The Times of Israel