Jews who were online on the first day of Rosh Hashanah were treated to the following ‘good news’, enthusiastically reported by Harriet Sherwood:
Sherwood’s report began thusly:
Amid a global exchange of greetings and good wishes to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which began at sunset on Wednesday, there was one from a particularly surprising quarter.
Iran‘s president, Hassan Rouhani, tweeted: “As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.” A picture of an Iranian Jew praying at a synagogue in Tehran accompanied the tweet
However, shortly after the initial reports on the alleged Rosh Hashanah Tweet by the new Iranian president, it began to emerge that the story was likely not true. On the same day Sherwood filed her story, Fars News Agency (the official Iranian news agency) emphatically denied that Rouhani posted such Tweets:
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior advisor to the Iranian President rejected western media reports alleging that President Rouhani has tweeted a felicitation message to the world Jews on Rosh Hashanah, the new Jewish year, underlining that the Iranian president has no official twitter account.
“Mr. Rouhani does not have a twitter account,” Presidential Advisor Mohammad Reza Sadeq told FNA on Thursday
Sadeq said the Twitter account is likely run by Rouhani supporters.
Whilst many in the news media published stories noting that the Tweet story was untrue on the same day (Sept. 5) that it was originally reported, Sherwood’s claim remains unchanged at the Guardian’s site at the time of this post, three days later.