“Even the Torah is distorted to serve Iranophobia. What it actually says: Persian king saved Jews from captivity in Babylon. Another Persian king saved Jews from genocide. Genocide plotter hailed from Negev, not Persia. Persian king is only foreigner referred to as MESSIAH,” Zarif said in a message posted on his Twitter on Sunday.
The tweet came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it was possible God raised New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump to be president in order to protect Israel from Iran, Press TV reported.
Pompeo traveled to Jerusalem al-Quds this week and made a controversial visit to the Buraq Wall, called by Israel as the Wailing Wall, in the Old City.
The visit made him the highest-ranking US official to visit the site with any Israeli leader and appeared to further signal the Trump administration’s support for Israel’s control of the contested city.
Asked “could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?" he said, "As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible”.
John Kirby, a former State Department spokesman, reacted to Pompeo’s remarks, describing them as “laughable”.
"Secretary Pompeo's assertion that President Trump may have been sent by God to save Israel would be laughable on its face if it weren't yet another indication that our Secretary of State recklessly crosses the line that should exist between church and state," he said.
What is the legend?
Esther is the main heroine of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which was celebrated this week. According to Jewish accounts, Persian King Xerxes I discovered a plot by his viceroy Haman the Agagite who hailed from Negev to slaughter Jews some 2,500 years ago and had him executed.
This is not the first time that the legend has featured in Israeli leaders' anti-Iran narrative.
In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in March 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Persia had made “an attempt to destroy the Jewish people that did not succeed.”
Back then, Zarif hit out at the Israeli premier for "resorting to fake history and falsifying" the Torah "to sell bigoted lies against a nation which has saved Jews 3 times."
In an address to parliament, which coincided with the Purim holiday, Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani also said in Tehran that “apparently, [Netanyahu] is neither acquainted with history, nor has read the Torah.”
Iran is home to some 25,000 Jews who are a recognized minority and are allocated one seat in parliament.
The Hebrew Bible has repeatedly praised Persian King Cyrus the Great as the patron and deliverer of the Jews who put an end to their Babylonian captivity.
'US, biggest source of instability in Mideast'
In a second tweet Friday, the Iranian foreign minister said the US is the single biggest source of instability in the Middle East.
"It may be deluded enough to believe that persistently violating int'l law, bullying sovereign nations & milking its clients projects strength. It does not. Its recklessness just displays panic of an empire in decline.”