Hundreds more Iranian schoolgirls fall ill after new poisonings

Tehran, Mar 5 (EFE).- Hundreds of Iranian girls from several schools have fallen sick in a new wave of poisonings across the Islamic republic, local media reported on Sunday.

Some 29 of the 450 girls living in a female students’ residence in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia were hospitalized Saturday night into Sunday after they were poisoned “by an unknown agent,” the Shargh daily newspaper reported.

Fifty high school students showed symptoms of poisoning Sunday morning, 10 of them had to be admitted to a hospital, in the northeastern city of Neyshabur, Javad Hosseini, an official from the nearby Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, said.

In the neighboring city of Mashhad, an unknown number of female pupils were also poisoned at another high school, Hosseini was quoted by the Iranian news agency Tasnim.

“The students suffered psychological problems and have no physical ailments,” said Hosseini, who stressed that a clinical investigation was necessary to determine if they were poisoned.

In central Kashan, worried parents rallied outside local education offices after a suspected poisoning attack on a girls’ school, Shargh reported.

The activist network 1500tasvir reported many cases of poisonings in dozens of cities and posted videos on social media that showed chaos in schools, students being transferred to hospitals by ambulances and girls complaining of breathing difficulties.

The spate of suspected gas poisonings among female school pupils and students broke out in the Shiite holy city of Qom in November when the protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody were in full swing.

So far, more than 1,000 female students across dozens of schools have been poisoned. Those affected report symptoms including headache, dizziness, nausea and sometimes inability to move limbs after detecting a smell of rotten orange and cleaning products.

Earlier on Sunday, the Iranian government said that the poisonings are a “psychological contamination” operation that aims to revive the protests that broke out following Amini’s death in September after she was arrested for allegedly not wearing hijab correctly.

According to the interior ministry, poisoning attacks in 52 schools have left an unknown number of female students intoxicated and 28 students hospitalized, figures that are far from those provided by the Iranian media and activist groups.

The attacks have sparked widespread anger, especially among parents, due to the authorities’ “idleness” in repelling them.

School students took part in the anti-government protests, took off their veils and shouted “woman, life, freedom”. EFE


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