Female students in Iran continue to be affected by new cases of poisoning

New cases of poisoning girls were registered on Sunday in different regions of Iran, where ambiguity still surrounds the issue that is causing anger in the country: several female students have been reported poisoned in two secondary schools for girls, in Abhar (west) and Ahwaz (southwest), and also in a primary school, in Zanjan (west), according to the “Isna” news agency, citing local health officials.

The poisoning cases also affected schoolgirls in the holy city of Mashhad (northeast), Shiraz (south) and Isfahan (center), according to news agencies Mehr and ILNA. Hundreds of female students have been exposed to gas poisoning in dozens of educational centers in the past three months, according to official data.

In a statement released on Saturday evening, Interior Minister Ahmed Wahidi spoke of the discovery of “suspicious samples” during “field research”, without revealing further details. On Friday, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi called on the interior and intelligence ministries to “thwart the enemy’s plot to spread fear and despair among the population”.

Responding to a question from the Fars agency, Deputy Interior Minister Majid Marhamdi accused “the cause of the poisoning of the girls” of wanting to “close the schools” and of “blaming the regime” for “reviving the dormant riots”.

The official refers to the protest movement that broke out in Iran following the death of young woman, Mahsa Amini, on Sept. 16, days after she was arrested by the morality police for violating the country’s strict dress code.

Marhamdi believed that a “small percentage” of the poisoning cases were the result of “deliberate actions”, but that a “large number” of female students suffered from complications from “anxiety and stress”. A health ministry official said last week that “some people” are trying to “close all schools, in particularly girls’ schools”. But other officials have not echoed similar positions. The mysterious case has raised the concerns of the families of the students, calling on the authorities to find the culprits.