WASHINGTON — The Israeli Prime Minister's office is standing by an attack on the Iranian president-elect — despite the fact that tweets were deleted from one of his Twitter accounts.
"No tweet about Rouhani comments was removed," an Israeli government spokesperson told BuzzFeed. "No statement was retracted. The relevant account is his official one - @IsraeliPM account. Nothing was removed from that one."
"Rouhani's true face has been revealed earlier than expected," the @netanyahu account, which is linked to Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud office and is verified, tweeted before deleting the tweets. "Even if they will now rush to deny his remarks, this is what the man thinks and this is the plan of the Iranian regime. These remarks by President Rouhani must rouse the world from the illusion that part of it has been caught up in since the Iranian elections."
The statement remains up on Netanyahu's official Facebook account and his other official Twitter account, @IsraeliPM.
The Rouhani quote that prompted Netanyahu's response was originally published as: "Israel is a wound on the body of the world of Islam that must be destroyed," by Iranian media. But outlets later posted corrections, calling it a misquote. Rouhani had actually "struck a relatively more moderate tone by referring to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, rather than Israel itself, as 'a sore,'" the New York Times reported.
Rouhani's English-language account later tweeted a paraphrase of the quote: "In our region, a sore has for years been on body of Muslim world in shadow of occupation of holy land of #Palestine and dear Qods."
A spokesperson for Netanyahu told the BBC that the tweeted and deleted statement was based on an "erroneous translation" of Rouhani's words, but that they are sticking with it; Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid reported that the Prime Minister's office is "standing 100% by" the statement."