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Iranian female pupils poisoned in classrooms in suspected plan to stop school attendance

In an apparent attempt to prevent Iranian female students from attending school, hundreds of them were poisoned in their classrooms.

Some young girls were unable to move and complained of headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, and feeling numb.

According to local media reports, up to 400 students at 30 schools were affected over the past three months.

According to reports, the first cases of November 2013 were reported to have occurred in Qom (around 125km (80 mi) southwest of Tehran). There, some parents fearfully pulled their children from school to prevent future incidents.

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Students at Noor Yazdanshahr Conservatory fell ill in November 2013 and then again one month later.

Some students described the sensation of tangerines, chlorine, or cleaning agents.

Tehran was the next stop, with at least one additional case. Qom followed, as did others in Qom, and Boroujerd. These cities are approximately 400 km (248 miles) away from Tehran.

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Targeted schools have also included at least one school for boys.

Initial dismissals by Iran’s education minister were made in the face of speculations that pupils had been poisoned by carbon monoxide from natural gas used to heat schools.

Officials are now treating them seriously and have called them “intentional”.

Iran’s General Prosecutor has ordered a criminal investigation. He stated that there are “possibilities of deliberate criminal acts.”

The deputy health minister of the state-run IRNA news agency stated that Younes Panahi had said that after several poisonings in Qom schools students, it was discovered that some people wanted all schools to close, particularly girls’ schools.

Image Officials at the scene in an Iranian school Pic: AP

Pedram Paakaieen, a spokesperson for the health ministry, stated that the poisoning was not caused by a virus or microbe, but did not go into detail.

Ali Reza Monadi (national parliament member) describes poisonings as “intentional”.

Image Family members at the bedside a girl who required hospital treatment Pic: AP

According to IRNA, he stated that “(The) existence devil’s will prevent girls from learning is a grave danger and it is considered very poor news.” He added: “We must find the roots of this.”

Jamileh Kadivar is a prominent journalist and former reformist lawmaker. She wrote in Tehran’s Ettelaat that up to 400 students had fallen ill. She also warned that “subversive opposition” could be responsible.

She suggested that “domestic extremists”, possibly in an attempt to “replace Islam Republic with a caliphate, or Taliban-style Islamic Emirate”, could also be behind the attacks.

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The attacks are suspected to have occurred as Iran is still under an uprising against its regime. This was sparked by 22-year-old Mahsa Amini‘s death.

Sky News Ms. Amini’s cousin told Sky News that she was tortured and then died in police custody after being held by Iran’s “morality cop” for not wearing a hijab properly.

The country witnessed some of the worst protests for many years, with many people being killed by authorities as they crack down on those who dare to challenge the regime.

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