On December 23 a Christmas Message tweet from the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s was not well received. The tweet read:
“‘The angels said, Mary, God gives you glad-tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Christ, Jesus, son of Mary; highly honored in this world and the next’ Quran 3:45 A very happy and peaceful Christmas to all. May Christ’s universal message of peace be embraced in the coming year”.
However, his tweet was met with criticism as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a short video clip on Facebook on Friday calling Tehran out for its treatment of Christians, and highlighting the hypocrisy of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s tweeting of a Christmas message.
The timing of the message may be what is at question as it is said many Christians are currently being persecuted in Iran. In his video, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “I wonder what the Christians, jailed this month in Iran, would say about that tweet. I wonder what Iranian youth would think about that tweet. But sadly the regime bans Twitter, unless of course you are a high-ranking official.”
According to Persian media reports earlier this month, four Iranian converts to Christianity were arrested by Iranian security forces and six houses they used as home churches were also raided. However, the Iranian government’s official news agency, IRNA, defended the arrests, stating that “elements of a devious Christian cult who were promoting it and attempting to disrupt the market and economic order have been arrested.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu made reference to these arrests in his video by further stating:
“Imagine you are praying quietly in your homes, surrounded by your family, and all of a sudden, armed thugs burst in and drag you away to prison. They torture you merely for practicing your Christian faith. Welcome to Iran,”.
He further added that, “saying Merry Christmas while jailing Christians in your own country is the height of hypocrisy.
Image Credit: Facebook/ISRAELPM