March 29, 2023

Persian News

All Persian News Related to Iran

More than 100 arrested over suspected poisoning of schoolgirls: Iran police

Authorities in Iran said Wednesday 110 people have been arrested over the suspected poisoning of thousands of girls in schools across the country.

Police spokesperson Gen. Saeed Montazerolmehdi said authorities confiscated thousands of stink bomb toys, which were presumably used in the alleged incidents.

Human rights groups estimate that up to 7,000 schoolgirls were poisoned in over 100 cities across 29 of Iran’s 31 provinces between November 2022 and March 2023.

No fatalities have been recorded, though hundreds of students had to be hospitalized, according to local reports.

Some officials had initially dismissed the girls’ illnesses as “rumors,” blaming it on “underlying diseases” and “anxiety” of the students, according to the nonprofit organization Human Rights Activists in Iran.

But early last week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, referred to the poisoning as a “major and unforgivable crime,” for which perpetrators should face the “harshest punishment.”

Following Khamenei’s comment, Iran’s judiciary chief, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, said the courts will take action to bring them to justice. He also suggested those found guilty could face the death penalty, Al Jazeera reported.

Human rights groups have slammed the Iranian government for not being able — or willing — to stop the attacks.

“International support is urgently needed to protect Iranian children and their right to education,” Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, said in a statement on March 8.

The incidents have sparked protests across the country and were harshly condemned by human rights advocates across the globe.

Last week, the head of the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, issued a statement saying she was “deeply concerned” about the reports, calling the incidents “a violation of [the schoolgirls’] right to safe education.”

UNESCO “urges thorough investigations and immediate actions to protect schools and facilitate the return of affected students,” the agency tweeted.

With News Wire Services

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