Iran Learns Unintended Consequences of Lying

By | January 14, 2020

[January 14, 2020]  “Death to the Dictator” was the chant from Iranians after demonstrations that broke out at several Tehran universities.1  These political problems come in the aftermath of Iran’s leaders adamantly denying involvement in the crash of a civilian passenger airplane.  For three days, Iran blamed the plane’s crash on an engine malfunction.  What the leaders learned quickly was that there are consequences for lying.

Lying is something we all struggle to control.  But in some cultures, lying is tolerated, if done for a “good reason.”  Some say that leaders in the Middle East are always after the best possible deal they can get, no matter what it takes, and “that includes lying,” according to U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA).  It is “honorable and heroic to successfully lie and deceive the infidels,” in this case Americans.2

Successful lying in today’s electronic and social-media-filled world is difficult.  There can be a severe blowback when high-ranking government officials lie to deflect blame for poor decision-making.  The old joke that politicians are lying only when their lips are moving is apt in this situation.

Iran had vowed revenge for the U.S. killing of General Qassem Soleimani while he was at the Baghdad, Iraq airport (see my earlier comments here).  There was a promise by senior government officials that America would pay for the “assassination.” Rockets were fired from Iran onto U.S. bases in Iraq.3  No one was killed.  But the Iranian government claimed that 30 American servicemen were eliminated in the retaliatory strike — another lie.

Iran’s Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei went public to admit his regime had mistakenly shot down the civilian passenger plane; killing all 176 aboard including many Iranians.  What began as vigils for Iranian lives lost on the flight soon turned to outrage at the regime.  Angry crowds gathered around Tehran and other cities to send a clear message that they will not tolerate their government lying to them.  “Death to liars” and “Death to the Islamic Republic” were other chants at the demonstrations.  In a theocratic dictatorship, this is rare and not tolerated.

Deflecting blame is another tactic of dictatorships.  By doing so, it gives that person a pass on their culpability and failures.  It didn’t take long.  After the acknowledgment that Iranian air defense forces shot down the passenger plane, the Iranian government blamed it on “US adventurism” for the fatal error.  A government spokesman said that the delay in releasing the information was not aimed at hiding the issue but it is the routine drill first to study the case.

More lies from the Iranian government, which all can see, continues.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani released a statement saying that “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”  I bet they do but not for the reasons they imply.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Iran Learns Unintended Consequences of Lying

  1. Bryan Lee

    Excellent article and thanks for pointing out the problem with lying. This has become a major theme of this blog and appropriately so.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Politicians lying …… can’t be /sarcasm off

    2. José Luis Rodriguez

      Gen. Satterfield’s blog is a valuable tool for everyone but especially for up-and-coming leaders who want to get a quick dose of leadership thinking daily. I have recommended this website to many of my colleagues and they are giving me some great positive feedback. Thanks all and wishing everyone a pleasant day.

  2. Joe Omerrod

    Gen. Satterfield, thanks for a relevant and interesting comment on the Iranian situation. I too believe that lying is more difficult in a social media age. Just look at what is coming back to haunt the candidates for the US presidential election. Pass the popcorn.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      You are a bit funny today, Joe. The U.S. upcoming presidential election will be very entertaining. I would only ask that the new media not embarrass themselves again by being so biased against Trump. Sadly, the media is just an arm of the Democratic Party (very political).

    2. Willie Shrumburger

      Yes, we all should be following the developments in the ME very closely. There are many leadership lessons to learn from it.

      1. Darwin Lippe

        Yes, many lessons but only if we pay attention and someone helps point them out, like Gen. Satterfield.

  3. Army Vet

    I think it’s a bit early to tell where the riots in Iran are going at this point. In the past, we saw a great many protests and the religious-political government put them down violently. That happened while Pres Obama was in office and Obama would support the Iranian people. They want freedom to pursue their family interests and to be treated fairly. Under the Muslim government, that will not happen and they are starting to realize it. I’m happy US Pres Trump is supporting the people of Iran.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Hi, Army Vet. A pleasure to hear from you. Yes, we don’t really know where this is going. Those of us raised in a Western nation truly cannot know the culture there in Iran. I’ll be monitoring and reporting back here in my leadership blog as major changes happen.

      1. Forrest Gump

        Sir, please encourage army vet to write more for your blog.

    2. Georgie B.

      Greetings to you Army Vet. We are big fans of yours so please write more articles for this leadership blog by Gen. Satterfield. Thank you! 😊

  4. Valkerie

    When leaders lie, people die. Thank you General Satterfield for keeping us up on leader failures.

    1. old warrior

      Wow, nice! I guess people will only take so much corruption, violence, lying, and misdirection before they stand up and do something about it. I’m proud of these protesting Iranians. Now it’s time for them to kick some serious butt and to get their country back and drag their leaders into the 21st century.

  5. Max Foster

    Folks, also go to the Daily Favorites section for more articles on the ‘fallout’ from senior Iranian govt officials lying and what is happening because of it. Simple, they arrest lower-level bureaucrats who took the lead of the senior leaders. Now those senior govt officials are hanging them out to dry. Maybe literally hanging. We’ll see later what severe punishment will come about.

    1. JT Patterson

      Their leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, will make sure that the “guilty” are punished so that he and his cronies remain in power. This is what the reaction is all about anyway.

      1. Karl J.

        Right JT. My opinion is that the closest political system to the Iranian government is socialism/communism. That partly explains why they are so brutal to their own people. The leaders only care about staying in power because that is where the good living is.

      2. Mark Evans

        So very true and also sad. Democracy may be a problematic political structure but all the others are much much worse.

    2. Andrew Dooley

      Max, appreciate you pointing it out. Lots in the news about this. What will eventually happen to the dictatorship of Iran? No one knows and that is the point.

  6. Dennis Mathes

    Let’s be blunt. Those who follow the culture of Islam will lie, cheat, and steal if it serves the benefit of their tribe. That is why the US socialist movement toward rewarding “tribes” instead of individual behavior is so dangerous.

    1. Roger Yellowmule

      Yes, Dennis you are right on target with this comment. I never knew a Muslim who wouldn’t lie to achieve something in the short term for themselves or family. I wouldn’t trust them on anything important. Maybe there are some Muslims in Europe and America who can be trusted but those raised in the Middle East, never ever ever trust them.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Trust and confidence is the basis for effective social relationships. No wonder wherever Muslims are, there is violence and upheaval.

      2. Wilson Cox

        So true. I lived in Bahrain for several years. My company finally pulled out when so many of our written contracts were violated at will.

    2. Eva Easterbrook

      Thank you guys for putting an exclamation point on Gen. Satterfield and his article dealing with the Middle East and its culture. There is no way we can all learn about it from reading but experience does count for something.

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