Iran issues slew of arrests after mystery poisonings of schoolgirls

Iran issues slew of arrests after mystery poisonings of schoolgirls
Iran has issued its first slew of arrests after around 230 schools were hit by a mysterious poisoning attack.
2 min read
Hundreds of girls in schools across Iran have fallen ill in suspected poisoning attacks [source: Getty]

Iran's deputy interior minister on Tuesday announced the first arrests in a spate of mystery poisonings of schoolgirls that has gripped the country for the past several months.

"Based on the intelligence and research measures of the intelligence agencies, a number of people have been arrested in five provinces and the relevant agencies are conducting a full investigation," Majid Mirahmadi told state television.

Scores of schools have been hit by poisonings since late November, with pupils suffering symptoms ranging from shortness of breath to nausea and vertigo after reporting "unpleasant" odours on school premises. Some have been treated in hospital.

"Twenty-five (out of 31) provinces and approximately 230 schools have been affected, and more than 5,000 schoolgirls and boys poisoned," Mohammad-Hassan Asafari, a member of the parliamentary fact-finding committee, told the ISNA news agency on Monday.

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"Various tests are being carried out to identify the type and cause of the poisonings. So far, no specific information has been obtained regarding the type of poison used."

The mystery poisonings have triggered a wave of anger and demands for action from the authorities.

They have also sparked international concern and Western calls for an independent investigation, particularly as the first cases were reported soon after the start of nationwide protests over the death of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly breaching Iran's strict dress code for women