A crisis over suspected poisonings targeting Iranian schoolgirls escalated Sunday as authorities acknowledged over 50 schools were struck in a wave of possible cases. Worried parents protested in Iran’s capital Tehran and other cities over a wave of suspected poison attacks.
Sara Jamshidi, Goltune’s senior editor, reports on the attacks against girls. Please take a listen.
It remains unclear who or what is responsible since the alleged poisonings began in November in the Shiite holy city of Qom. Reports now suggest schools across 21 of Iran’s 30 provinces have seen suspected cases, with girls’ schools the site of nearly all the incidents.
The attacks have raised fears that other girls could be poisoned, apparently just for going to school. Education for girls has never been challenged in the more than 40 years since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran has been calling on the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan to allow girls and women return to school and universities.
The children affected in the poisonings reportedly complained of headaches, heart palpitations, feeling lethargic or otherwise unable to move. Some described smelling tangerines, chlorine or cleaning agents.
Reports suggest at least 400 schoolchildren have fallen ill since November. As more attacks were reported Sunday, videos were posted on social media showing children complaining about pain in the legs, abdomen and dizziness. State media have mainly referred to these as “hysteric reactions.”
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