Iran investigates suspected poisonings

Iran investigates suspected poisonings
Spread the love

Islam News – More than 800 schoolgirls in at least 10 cities in Iran have come down with respiratory, cardiac and neurological symptoms, possibly because they were poisoned, senior officials said.

The first reports of girls falling sick emerged three months ago in the city of Qom, which is about 80 miles southwest of Tehran. For months, the government dismissed the cases, but the rise in the number of sick schoolgirls meant the illnesses could no longer be ignored. Videos circulated widely showing girls collapsing to the ground, gasping for air and lying on emergency room beds.

On Wednesday, Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s minister of the interior, said that an investigation into what some officials called the school attacks had begun, but he said that no arrests had been made and that the motive was unclear.

Alireza Monadi, the head of Parliament’s education committee, said this week that the schools had been deliberately attacked and that toxicologists had identified nitrogen gas as the toxin. Monadi said the motive appeared to be to prevent girls from attending schools, raising concerns about Islamic extremism.

Context: Women and girls have led the recent protests demanding an end to the Islamic Republic. In response, the government has interrogated students and raided schools. In at least one case, a teenage girl was killed during a raid.

Quotable: “These appear to be serious coordinated attacks to create fear among the girls and their families in the context of girls partaking in the protests and being penalized for it,” an Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch said.

Source: The New York Times

Islam News