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More Iranian Girls’ Schools Targeted By “Chemical Attacks”

March 13, 2023
1 min read
More Iranian Girls’ Schools Targeted By “Chemical Attacks”

Schoolgirls in at least two western Iranian cities were reportedly taken to medical centers for treatment on March 13, amid a wave of poisonings that have affected thousands of pupils across the country over more than three months.

The Telegram channel of the group Bazaar Civil Protests released a video purportedly showing anxious residents of Kurdistan province’s city of Baneh next to an ambulance parked outside Vahdat secondary school.

The group said an unknown number of schoolgirls were poisoned and taken to medical centers after a “chemical attack.”

According to the same group, two girls' schools in the city of Mahshahr, in Khuzestan province, were also sickened by chemical exposure.

The poisonings started in late November 2022, causing anxiety among parents and students.

Some Iranians have suggested that the poisonings could be an attempt to force the closure of girls’ schools or a retaliation for students and women leading anti-government demonstrations that have swept Iran since September.

While Iranian political figures and activists have described the wave of poisonings as "chemical" and "biological" attacks, officials have only recently admitted there may be a problem.

Deputy Health Minister Saeed Karimi said that 13,000 students were treated as of March 12 for symptoms including nausea, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties and heart palpitations.

Karimi said 100 of them had not been discharged from medical centers.

He also said that the poisonings have caused no death.

Meanwhile, the police commander of Hormozgan province, Gholamreza Jafari, announced on March 13 the arrest of a person accused of "spreading lies " about the poisoning.

In an apparent attempt to control the narrative surrounding the poisonings, the authorities have arrested a journalist and a blogger, and launched judicial proceedings against several other individuals and newspapers.



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