Iran has called the reports of mass trenches published Washington Post as fake, baseless and politically motivated. Earlier, Tehran had denied that an Iranian missile downed a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 on-board, dismissing claims of a catastrophic bunder.
Later, under mounting international pressure and criticism, Tehran admitted that its military made an “unforgivable mistake” in unintentionally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner.
The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.
My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences. https://t.co/4dkePxupzm
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020
The pictures, first published by the New York Times, show the excavation of a new section in a cemetery on the northern fringe Qom in late February, and two long trenches dug, of a total length of 100 yards, by the end of the month.
As per the initial reports, the trenches validate the worst apprehensions about the extent of the pandemic and Tehran’s consequent cover-up. On 24 February, at the time the trenches were being dug, a legislator from Qom blames the health ministry of concealing facts about the scale of the outbreak, saying there had already been 50 deaths in the city, at a time when the ministry was claiming only 12 people had died.
The deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, held a press conference and categorically rejected the accusations, but he was clearly sweating and coughing as he did so. The next day, Harirchi confirmed that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
Iran, responding the US media reports, states that the Washington Post has turned to publishing fake news about Iran’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, claiming that Tehran has dug mass “burial pits” for victims.
The report by PressTV lambasting the Washington Post states that the US media house has deliberately published a series of politicized reports about the coronavirus epidemic in Iran. The report cites dubious reports and videos circulating over the internet about Iran covering up its coronavirus deaths, says the Iranian media.
Here’s an idea: maybe don’t circulate the image of a cemetery from an extremely traumatic pandemic as though the real deaths of real people is some type of breakthrough in investigative journalism https://t.co/pKrMyVNUIT
— nazanin (@nazaninzar) March 12, 2020
The Iranian media, citing some random tweets, states that – many observers have been prompt to point out discrepancies and flaws in the report, with some highlighting the unethical reporting used in the article; using hyped expressions such as “seen from space” to portray a false image of mass graves.
9. Iran isn't North Korea (a fact @erinmcunningham + @DDaltonBennett + @fab_hinz know well). So if you want to know what's happening in Iran, you really can turn to Iranian news agencies and get most of the story. Follow Iranians on social media and you'll get the rest.
— Esfandyar Batmanghelidj (@yarbatman) March 12, 2020
The report says social media observers have pointed that the overall length of the purported 100 yards of “burial pits” in the satellite images cannot accommodate more than about 75-100 graves, not significantly higher than the official death toll announced for the city.
literally took this vid in Qom at al-Baqi cemetery in Jamkaran over 2 years ago.
this is no ‘burial pit’ as they would call it, just simply vacant graves at a cemetery (completely normal). pic.twitter.com/dnd6b92NR7
— محسني (@mohseni_) March 13, 2020
Press TV calls the US report as dubious and claims its sole purpose of tarnishing the image of Iran which is backed and supported by various foreign-funded anti-Iran media houses.
Debunking the lies that the mainstream media is making about mass graves in Qom due to Coronavirus. Please share so that the lies are rendered impotent and exposed for what they are. #WeWillDefeatCorona #Iran pic.twitter.com/3RhPCwQ4vh
— Shabbir Hassanally (شبير حسنعلي) (@purewilayah) March 13, 2020
Clarifying the stance, the executive manager of Qom Municipality’s burial sites Seifoddin Mousavi said the graves had been planned before the outbreak as part of usual procedures in the cemetery. He emphasised that all the procedures in the cemetery are taking place according to global protocols.