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Iran Pres: Gov't Not Always Truthful   08/01 09:38


   DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Iran's outgoing president on Sunday 
acknowledged his nation at times "did not tell part of the truth" to its people 
during his eight-year tenure, as he prepares to leave office with his signature 
nuclear deal with world powers in tatters and tensions high with the West.

   President Hassan Rouhani's comments, aired on state television, come as 
officials in his government have appeared rudderless in recent months amid a 
series of crises ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to parching droughts 
fueling public protests.

   After appearing just days earlier to be lectured by Supreme Leader Ayatollah 
Ali Khamenei about their failures in the nuclear negotiations, Rouhani's 
remarks appeared aimed at acknowledging the problems his government faced in 
its waning hours. President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, a protg of Khamenei, will be 
inaugurated Thursday.

   "What we told people was not contrary to reality, but we did not tell part 
of the truth to people," Rouhani said at his last Cabinet meeting as president. 
"Because I did not find it useful and I was afraid it would harm national 

   He did not elaborate on what he meant by his remarks. However, during his 
tenure, Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard mistakenly shot down a 
commercial airliner and killed 176 people onboard in January 2020, which the 
government refused for days to acknowledge until Western nations went public 
with their suspicions.

   Rouhani, a relative moderate within Iran's theocracy, insisted he and his 
officials did their best.

   "If we have a defect, we apologize to the people and ask them for 
forgiveness and mercy," Rouhani said.

   He pointed to the country's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which saw 
Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of 
economic sanctions. However, that deal now sits in tatters after then-President 
Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord in May 2018.

   Rouhani blamed many of Iran's current problems on Trump's decision, which 
saw the value of the Islamic Republic's rial currency crash. The president said 
that while Iran had plans to upgrade its armed forces after the expiration of a 
U.N. arms embargo in October 2020, it couldn't due to its financial woes.

   "We did not have the money to buy due to sanctions and not selling oil, but 
the contract is completely ready," he said.

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