Iran digs graves for US troops

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is digging mass graves for American soldiers in preparation for a war over its nuclear programme, according to a former senior commander.

General Hossein Moghadam, the Guard’s former deputy chief, was speaking after film footage showed strings of freshly dug graves in the south of the country.

They were close to the site of war graves for the dead of the long war between Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which devastated the region in the 1980s.

“The mass graves that used to be for burying Saddam’s soldiers have now been prepared again for US soldiers, and this is the reason for digging this big number of graves,” Gen Moghadam told news agency, which obtained the footage.

The warning is unlikely to be more than symbolic. No-one expects a land invasion, should the White House authorise a strike on nuclear facilities, while Iran has so far suggested counter-action is most likely to be aimed at American allies in the Gulf and Western bases there.

Gen Moghadam’s claims might be a sign that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is increasingly reliant on the Revolutionary Guard for political backing, is feeling the heat of international diplomatic pressure over his aggressive posture on Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.

Washington has made full use of the diplomatic victory it won in forcing through a new United Nations sanctions package, with the unexpected support of both Russia and China, in June.

Iranian businessmen both inside and outside the country say the economy is suffering, while President Ahmadinejad’s many enemies from within the ranks of his own conservative faction in the leadership are frequently outspoken on his domestic record across the board.