Mystery persists over girls intoxicated in schools in Iran

The mysterious case of poisoned schoolgirls in Iran continues to disturb and intrigue this Sunday when new cases were reported in various regions without the origin of these mysterious incidents having been clarified.

Day after day, the phenomenon is repeated: girls in schools report that they smell “unpleasant” or “unfamiliar” odors and then present symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Hundreds of schoolchildren had to be hospitalized, but so far none had a serious condition.

New cases of poisoning among schoolchildren were reported on Sunday in Abhar, in the west, in Ahvaz, in the southwest, and at a school in Zanjan, also in the west, the ISNA news agency reported, citing health officials.

According to the Mehr and Ilna agencies, cases were also reported in the sanctuary city of Mashhad in the northeast, Isfahan in the center and Shiraz in the south.

Since the end of November, hundreds of cases have been reported, the majority in the holy city of Qom and about 52 schools have been affected, according to an official record.

“Suddenly a very bad smell spread, I felt bad and then I fell to the ground,” a schoolgirl told local television.

Parastou, a high school student from Borujerd (west), told the Ham Mihan newspaper that she was hospitalized after “feeling nauseated and intense pain” in her chest.

An internist at the hospital in this city explained that most of the students presented “symptoms such as headache, respiratory problems, lethargy, nausea and low blood pressure.”

– ‘Reassure the nation’ –

A mother concerned about the cases urged the authorities to install cameras in front of the establishments and watch the door to know who enters and who leaves, in order to protect minors.

In a meeting with the head of education in Qom, Grand Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli called on the authorities to resolve the problem as soon as possible to “reassure the nation.”

“It is terrifying to see that the origin of the poisoning has not yet been identified,” he lamented.

Last week, a senior official in the Ministry of Health indicated that certain individuals wanted all schools, particularly girls’ schools, closed.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the Interior and Intelligence ministries on Friday to “destroy the enemy’s conspiracy that seeks to create fear and despair among the population.”

He did not give any indication of the identity of that “enemy”.

Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi accused the perpetrators of wanting to “close schools” but also “blaming the system” to “rekindle the extinguished flame of the riots.”

The official referred to the wave of protests unleashed on September 16 by the death in detention of the young Mahsa Amini, allegedly arrested for violating the strict dress code that obliges women to wear veils.


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