TEHRAN -- Under a banner showing coffins draped with American, British, and Israeli flags, more than 100 Iranian men and women pledged yesterday to become suicide bombers -- if necessary -- to defend their country and Islam.
The event, held in a burial area for war dead and martyrs, was similar to others in recent years, with Islamic chants and songs and volunteers donning white coverings to symbolize their willingness to die.
But this gathering was tailored to send a message of defiance against any possible military action over Iran's nuclear program.
No weapons or explosives were displayed, but the ceremony was organized by a shadowy group believed to have links to the Basiji paramilitary group that is backed by Iran's Islamic regime.
Six nations -- the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany -- are seeking a possible incentive package for Iran to persuade it to give up uranium enrichment. The package could include dropping the threat of military action but still bring sanctions.
It is unclear how the potential suicide bombers are recruited or trained, although several said that they were members of the Basiji group.