After the Iranian government attempted to cover up the fact that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner the night it fired missiles at an Iraqi air base where U.S. troops were stationed, Iranian state TV journalists have resigned and asked the public to forgive them for pushing lies on broadcasts, according to The Guardian.
"Thank you for your support in all years of my career," former IRIB anchor Saba Rad said. "I announce that after 21 years working in radio and TV, I cannot continue my work in the media. I cannot."
"Thank you for accepting me as anchor until today," Zahra Khatami said in her resignation announcement. "I will never get back to TV. Forgive me."
Gelare Jabbari, who apparently had already quit her post with the state TV network, apologized for what she had done in a since-deleted Instagram post.
"It was very hard for me to believe that our people have been killed," Jabbari wrote in the post. "Forgive me that I got to know this late. And forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies."
Ukrainian jetliner PS752 crashed Jan. 8, and the crash was initially blamed on a technical issue that caused the plane to catch fire. However, Iran's refusal to turn over the plane's black box to Boeing aroused suspicion about that conclusion. The plane had just taken off from Tehran's airport with 176 people on board.
Iranian officials later admitted that members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps air defense force shot down the civilian plane by mistake.
Current Iran state TV broadcaster Ghanbar Naderi told BBC Radio Today that the attempted cover-up has ruined whatever trust people may have had in the government.
"There is little trust in the government and people want more freedom," Naderi said. "The lies they said about shooting down the airplane lost public trust. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps know it very well.
"Millions and millions took to the streets following the assassination of Qassem Suleimani. It was a rare moment of unity but the IRGC blew it," Naderi said.
Over the weekend, protests reportedly began as vigils for the victims of PS752, but quickly descended into anti-government demonstrations.