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Protests break out in Iran over suspected poisoning of schoolgirls

After hundreds of girls were poisoned in schools, protests broke out in Tehran.

On Saturday, parents gathered in front of an education ministry building in western Jerusalem. This turned into an antigovernment demonstration.

Protesters shouted “Basij Guards, you’re our Daesh,” comparing the Revolutionary Guards with the Islamic State group.

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‘I feel pain in my chest’

Similar protests were held in Tehran, Isfahan, and Rasht.

Protests are taking place as Iran‘s Interior Minister said Saturday that investigators had found “suspicious” samples.

“In field studies… suspicious samples were found. These are being investigated…to identify the causes of students’ illness and the results will soon be published,” Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazali stated in a statement by IRNA.

Image A journalist interviews one of the affected students.

In recent months, more than 30 schoolgirls from at least ten of Iran’s 31 provinces became ill.

Social media videos show children being transported to hospitals by bus or ambulance, while parents take other children home from outside schools.

Online posts also show girls reporting heart palpitations, nausea, and headaches.

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

According to the country’s health minister, the girls were attacked by “mild poison”, and officials blame Tehran for their fate.

Some politicians suggest that the pupils were targeted by Islamist hardliners who oppose girls’ education.

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

The United Nations human right office in Geneva demanded a transparent investigation into suspected attacks. Several countries, including Germany, expressed concern.

Iran rejected the “hasty responses”, with a spokesperson for its foreign ministry saying to state media that Iran rejects the statements. He said: “It’s one of Iran’s immediate priorities to pursue this matter as quickly as possible, provide documented information to solve the families’ concerns, and hold accountable the perpetrators.

Image Protest against Mahsa Amini’s death in September

The mass poisoning suspects resulted from anti-government protests that were sparked in September by the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini, who was taken into custody by the morality police, which enforces strict dress codes.

Participation by schoolgirls in anti-government protests which began in September.

Image by Mahsa Amini. Pic from Center for Human Rights in Iran

They took out the mandatory headscarves from classrooms and tore up photos of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al Khamenei, calling for his execution.


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