Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 

Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 
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The site in Qom showed two trenched being excavated at a cemetery in satellite images taken days after Iran's first coronavirus cases were announced. (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 
2 / 4
The site in Qom showed two trenched being excavated at a cemetery in satellite images taken days after Iran's first coronavirus cases were announced. (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 
3 / 4
The site in Qom showed two trenched being excavated at a cemetery in satellite images taken days after Iran's first coronavirus cases were announced. (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 
4 / 4
The site in Qom showed two trenched being excavated at a cemetery in satellite images taken days after Iran's first coronavirus cases were announced. (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Updated 13 March 2020

Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 

Satellite images reveal Iran’s coronavirus mass graves 
  • Excavations in Qom are latest evidence that Iran is covering up the full extent of the outbreak
  • Two large trenches with a total length of almost 100 meters appeared at the end of February

LONDON: Iran has been digging mass graves to cope with the surge in deaths from COVID-19, according to expert analysis of satellite imagery.
Two large trenches with a total length of almost 100 meters appeared at the end of February at a cemetery in Qom.The graves were dug to accommodate the rising number of coronavirus victims in the city, the Washington Post reported.
The excavations are the latest evidence that Iran is covering up the full extent of the outbreak, which has already killed members of parliament and one of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top advisors.




The site in Qom showed two trenched being excavated at a cemetery in satellite images taken days after Iran's first coronavirus cases were announced. (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

Iran is the center of one of the biggest outbreaks of the coronavirus outside of China with official figures on Thursday placing the number of dead at 429 and total cases at more than 10,000. However, the US, Arab Gulf countries and global health experts say Iran’s official figures are far below the real number of cases and Tehran has been accused of covering up the full extent of the outbreak.
In Qom, the authorities claim 846 people have contracted the virus and the government has not released the death toll for the city of 1.2 million people.

A senior imagery analyst at Maxar Technologies in Colorado told the Post that the scale of the excavations and the speed with which they took place showed a marked difference from graves previously dug at the site.
The digging at the Behesht-e Masoumeh complex began as early as Feb. 21, just days after Iran announced its first cases, and then rapidly accelerated.
The images also show what appears to be a pile of lime, which can be used in mass graves to control odor.

The images match videos on social media that show rows of graves prepared for coronavirus victims at the same cemetery. 
The videos shared by BBC Persian earlier this month show men carrying a casket to a trench with many graves. The narrator says more than 80 people had been buried there so far “and they say only 34 deaths,” he adds referring to an earlier official death toll.

Another video showed dozens of black body bags stacked up in a Qom mortuary.
Iran’s handling of the outbreak has been condemned by countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Most coronavirus cases in Arab Gulf nations have been from people traveling from Iran.