Iran President Hassan Rouhani is endorsing the spirit of Christmas.
Rouhani on Tuesday retweeted two tweets, one by Iran’s supreme leader and one by its foreign minister, that focused on the spirit of Christmas.
The tweets appear to be a part of a continuing effort by Rouhani to put a friendlier face toward the West. The new Iranian president earlier this year became the first president of his country in decades to speak to a U.S. president on the phone, and the two sides in November agreed to an interim nuclear deal the Obama administration has hailed as a significant breakthrough.
Skeptics, including Israel, argue it is a mistake to believe in Rouhani, who they note ran Iran's nuclear program for years.
Rouhani on Monday retweeted Iran's conservative supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after he praised Jesus Christ in a tweet on Christmas Eve.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was responsible for negotiating the interim deal Iran reached with the United States and its allies, also tweeted about Christmas.
May the spirit of Christmas bring joy, peace, empathy and compassion to everyone throughout the coming year. Merry Christmas.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 24, 2013
Rouhani retweeted both Khamenei’s and Zarif’s tweets Tuesday. They are all practicing Muslims.
U.S. officials are working with Zarif and Rouhani to ensure Iran complies with the six-month deal reached in November. The deal allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium, but lifted some sanctions in exchange for Iran's agreement to limit and scale back parts of its program.
The Obama administration hopes to strike a final deal if Iran satisfies the first agreement's requirements. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have both acknowledged an effort to shut down Iran’s program entirely could never be on the table.
Rouhani reiterated that position in a tweet Monday.
We'll never give up our right to #nuclear energy. But we're working towards removing all doubts and answer all reasonable questions.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) December 23, 2013