| 31 March 2023, Friday |

Over 100 arrested in suspected poisonings of Iranian schoolgirls

A mass arrest occured across Iran in connection with a wave of suspected poisonings of school girls.

Among those arrested were “individuals who have had hostile motives, tried to create fear and horror among people and students, shut down schools, and created pessimism toward” Iran’s interior ministry said in a statement, according to state-run IRNA news agency.

The government claimed that the people had been “identified, arrested and investigated” in several cities, including the capital Tehran.

“Initial inquiries show that a number of these people, out of mischief or adventurism and with the aim of shutting down classrooms and influenced by the created psychological atmosphere, have taken measures such as using harmless and smelly substances,” the statement stated.

Another incident took place in February in the same city where more than 100 students from 13 schools were hospitalised after what Iranian state news agencies described as “serial poisonings.”

Though the motive for poisoning schoolgirls is yet to be known, speculators have been divided between hard-line Islamist groups and the Iranian regime.

While activists claim that the poisonings were linked to the nationwide protests that erupted last September following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, politicians, on the other hand, believe that radical groups have been responsible for it.

Notably, many schoolgirls have been part of the anti-regime protests, where they are seen removing their mandatory headscarves in classrooms, tearing up pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and calling for his death as a form of agitation.

Earlier, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei deplored the suspected poisonings calling it an “unforgivable crime” and sought “severe punishment” for anyone found responsible.

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