Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has taken to Twitter to send holiday greetings to Christians all over the world, saying that “the birth of [the] Spirit of God – Jesus, revered by Muslims as a great prophet – is a joyous occasion for ALL mankind.”
The birth of Spirit of God—Jesus, revered by all Muslims as a great prophet—is a joyous occasion for ALL mankind.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 24, 2020
I wish all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.
Zarif’s greeting is by no means unusual, with Iranian officials going back all the way to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issuing similar messages in the past.
The messages are not always taken in their intended spirit, however, with perplexed readers, mostly in the US and other Western countries, regularly expressing their confusion over the greetings.
The comments under Zarif’s tweet show this year was no different.
They actually can. Dont believe all the propaganda— enigmaticmuse808 ❤ (@sparklenaloha) December 24, 2020
You sir are one confused fella. Praying for you 🙏— John (@john87267716) December 24, 2020
Others, however, reciprocated the greetings.
What a beautiful message, may peace be with your nation and people too.— Evangeline (@Evangel993) December 24, 2020
Merry Christmas, happy upcoming year! Let it be peace EVERYWHERE. Thanks for the post, unfortunately not all understand or know who is Jesus/(Isa ibn Maryam) , even consider it insulting if Christian collegues congratulate each other on this occasion 😳 🤦♀️— Babochka (@Babochk22029039) December 24, 2020
As a MUSLIM IRANIAN, I wish all Christians a Merry Christmas. I hope we can all cleanse the WORLD of WAR and VIOLENCE. I hope that #PEACE will spread in the world. 🇮🇷🕊️🌱💙🌲🌲— 🇮🇷 آقای آلبرت 🕊️ (@MrDmitri2) December 24, 2020
You are also the best, Dr. Zarif 💙😍🇮🇷🕊️#IRAN#HAPPYCHRISTMAS
Thank you Mr. Zarif and Christians as well as the Jews love Iran above all..— Max Fatouretchi (@Maxf_at) December 24, 2020