Monday, 4 July, 2022
HomeHealthIran's mass graves can be seen from space, show coronavirus toll could...

Iran’s mass graves can be seen from space, show coronavirus toll could be much higher

Images and videos of the cemetery where the graves were being dug indicate that the Iranian government is trying to cover up the scale of the outbreak. 

Text Size:

New Delhi: A series of satellite images indicate that the coronavirus outbreak in Iran is far worse than what has been reported so far.

A report in The Washington Post revealed evidence of “unusual activity” at a cemetery in close proximity to where the infections emerged.

According to the satellite images, a new section of graves was being excavated from 21 February onward in Behesht-e Masoumeh complex in Qom, south of Tehran. By the end of February, images indicated that two large trenches (over 100 yards in length) were visible at the site from space.

The report suggested that these graves have been dug to accommodate the increasing number of coronavirus victims in Qom.

The images accessed by The Washington Post were provided by Maxar Technology, a Colorado-based space technology company. These images were first reported by The New York Times

As of 12 March, there are over 10,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iran. Official figures revealed that over 429 people have died so far. 

Also read: China’s love for wildlife meat to its authoritarianism — how coronavirus got out of hand

What the satellite images indicate 

Satellite images from 1 March indicated two trenches and it seemed that the excavation has continued since then.

The Behesht-e Masoumeh complex in Qom includes the city’s largest cemetery. It also includes a park, a mosque and a morgue. 

Qom, a city of 1.2 million people, serves as the “spiritual centre” of Iran’s Shiite clerics. 

Officials claimed over 846 people have contracted the virus in Qom, but the government hasn’t revealed the death toll for Qom. 

Moreover, the accessed satellite images indicated that the number of victims of the virus are far higher than the official figure.

Some videos from the cemetery have been posted on social media. These videos too indicate that the rows of graves at Behesht-e Masoumeh are meant for coronavirus victims.

The imagery analyst, requesting anonymity, also pointed to “an image showing what appears to be a large white pile of lime, which can be used to manage decay and odour in mass graves”.

Iranian health officials have recently confirmed the use of lime while burying coronavirus victims.

Denial from Iranian government 

Media reports claimed the numbers stated by the Iranian government are not an accurate reflection of the outbreak in the country. 

When the trenches were being dug around 24 February, a legislator from Qom had accused the health ministry of lying about the number of deaths. 

Responding to the allegation, Iraj Harirchi, deputy health minister, had held a press conference to “categorically deny” the claims, even though he was coughing and sweating during the meet.

Harirchi tested positive for coronavirus the very next day. 

Some members of the Iranian parliament, a former diplomat and a senior adviser to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, have died due to the virus

Amir Afkhami, associate professor at George Washington University, said, “It doesn’t surprise me that they are now trying to create mass graves and trying to hide the actual extent of the impact of the disease.” 

“Because of China’s status as the country’s principal commercial partner, the Iranian government took inadequate cautionary measures to restrict and monitor travelers from China,” he added. 

“Then, later on, Tehran’s lack of transparency and unwillingness to take robust measures such as social distancing and quarantine, particularly at the epicentre of the outbreak, helped spread the virus,” Afkhami said.

Also read: Online is the future of education and thanks to coronavirus it’s already here


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. Iranian clergy is busy killing Us soldiers. they have no time or resources to fight the virus. But they dream of fighting the US army.

  2. Iran is a country that is more interested in the welfare of Muslims in other countries then it’s own Muslim citizens.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular