Tehran, Mar 1 (EFE).- Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday ordered an investigation into a wave of suspected gas poisoning attacks at girls’ schools in the country.
At least 13 cases were reported on Wednesday in the cities of Tehran, Ardabil, Parand and Kermanshah, the latest incidents in a spate of over 30 poisonings since November.
At the weekly cabinet meeting, Raisi instructed interior minister Ahmad Vahidi and the health ministry to “swiftly” investigate the causes of the poisonings in girls’ schools in recent weeks.
In the northwestern city of Ardabil, more than 100 students from eight schools and high schools were hospitalized after suffering eye irritation, dizziness and headaches, the reformist daily Shargh reported.
Similar to previous cases that have been reported, the girls said they could smell an odor similar to a mixture of rotten orange and cleaning products.
Authorities announced that most of the girls who were hospitalized on Wednesday have been discharged.
The poisonings have led to growing concern among parents who are angry at the authorities’ apparent inability to stop attacks that appear to be intended to stop the girls from getting their education.
Dozens of parents gathered on Wednesday to shout “Death to the child-killing government” outside a school in Tehran, which was hit by a poisoning incident, according to videos shared on social media by the 1500tasvir collective.
Meanwhile, security forces have yet to ascertain whether the poisonings are deliberate attacks or accidents.
“Great efforts are being made to identify the source of the student poisonings,” police chief Ahmad Reza Radan told Iranian media.
“No one has been arrested so far and we prefer not to judge whether this was a deliberate matter,” he added.
The police chief’s stance clashes with that of other senior Iranian officials, such as Deputy Education Minister Younes Panahi, who said these were “intentional attacks” designed to close girls’ schools.
The first case of poisoning was recorded at the end of November in the holy city of Qom, where the largest number of cases have been reported.
The wave of poisonings in girls’ schools comes amid heightened tensions in Iran, which has been shaken in recent months by protests over the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for allegedly not wearing the Islamic veil properly.
The protests have lost strength since four demonstrators were executed. EFE