Iran’s Outgoing President: Nation Was Not Always Truthful

Says he feared truth would harm national unity

Heading into his last week in office, President Hassan Rouhani made a rare sort of admission Sunday, confirming that he and the Iranian nation at times did not tell the full truth during his eight years in office.

Rouhani did not get into specific examples, but did say that at times the government withheld “part of the truth,” and was “afraid it would harm national unity” to be more frank.

This is something short of admitting to lying outright, but withholding certain specifics is still a problem. Rouhani said he apologizes to the people and asks them for “forgiveness and mercy.”

This is bound to lead to new speculation about what Iran withheld specifics about. The immediate suspicion is on Iran shooting down a civilian aircraft in January 2020. Iran did not immediately admit to this, but ultimately did come clean.

While withholding admission led to a backlash, the Iranian public is very sensitive to cases of airliners being shot down, and the Rouhani government almost certain did fear what the reaction would be.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of