Poisonings of schoolgirls continue across Iran


In a continuation of the enigmatic phenomena that has shook Iran for months, dozens of schoolgirls were poisoned on Saturday in a number of schools throughout the country, according to local media.

Since late November, abrupt poisoning occurrences from gases or hazardous chemicals have plagued several schools, mainly for girls. In some cases, these incidents have led to fainting and hospitalisation of the students.

According to a local source quoted by state television’s IRIB news agency, at least “60 students were poisoned in a girls’ school in the town of Haftkel” in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan.

A regional medical officer told the news agency that several schoolgirls were poisoned at “five schools in Ardabil in the northwest,” where the victims had signs of “anxiety, shortness of breath, and headaches.”

Without going into any detail, the ILNA news agency stated that “a number of schoolgirls were taken to the hospital on Saturday after feeling sick” in the northwest town of Urmia, the administrative centre of the province of West Azerbaijan.

In more than 230 businesses, spread throughout 25 of the nation’s 31 provinces, “more than 5,000 students” have been impacted by similar poisonings, according to an official tally provided on March 7.

The chairman of the national fact-finding committee established to look into these cases, MP Hamidreza Kazemi, stated on Friday that “the final report” would be released “in two weeks.”

State television quoted him as stating, “We have received reports from various bodies and we are studying the issue in order to present our conclusion to parliament.”

The poisonings were referred to as “unforgivable crimes” by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who called for “severe sentences” up to the death penalty against those found guilty on March 6.

After Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested on September 16 for allegedly breaking the country’s severe dress code for women, died while in detention two months later, a protest movement in Iran was launched. This was the beginning of the poisoning incidents.

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