Iran Poisoning Crisis Sparks Outrage – What We Know So Far

Iran Poisoning Crisis Sparks Outrage - What We Know So Far

Have you heard about the recent poisoning crisis in Iran’s schools? Since November, dozens of students have been rushed to hospitals with symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. The crisis has hit almost a hundred schoolgirls in different parts of the country, causing widespread concern and anger. Iranian government and authorities currently investigate these alleged poison attacks, and here’s what we know.

The situation has become worse, with reports of new attacks in Tehran and three other cities. More than 30 schools have been affected, causing panic among parents and students alike. The situation has become so concerning that some parents have even decided to pull their children out of school. It’s no wonder that these suspected poisonings have sparked protests and outrage from concerned parents and individuals.

What happened in the Iran poisoning crisis?

The poisoning crisis in Iran’s schools started when 18 schoolgirls from the city of Qom were rushed to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of nausea, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and the like. Since then, the number of suspected cases has skyrocketed into the hundreds, leaving authorities scrambling to find a cause.

  • Despite numerous reports, the reason and cause of the poisonings remain unclear. However, some schoolgirls have mentioned smelling chlorine or cleaning agents in the air, leading to speculation that toxic chemicals or gas emissions may be involved.
  • The poisoning crisis left concerned parents and individuals understandably worried and frustrated. In fact, some of them have taken to the streets to protest over the illnesses. Recently, a group of concerned parents gathered in front of the Education Ministry building in the west of Tehran to voice their concerns and demand action from authorities.
  • However, things quickly took a turn as the protest evolved into an anti-government gathering. This shift in focus highlights the frustration and anger that many Iranians feel toward their government’s handling of the crisis.

What’s the possible cause?

According to a news report from Arab News, a senior Iranian officer has reported that they have found a fuel tanker next to a school in a Tehran suburb. The authorities have also sighted this same tanker in two other cities, Qom and Boroujerd, which could potentially be involved with the recent poisonings.

  • The authorities were able to get hold of the tanker and arrest the driver, according to the deputy of Pardis suburb, Reza Karimi Saleh. They did not provide any further updates about this arrest.
Iran school and schoolgirls poisoning, iranian government
Screengrab Courtesy of Reuters via YouTube
  • Iran has been facing a lot of criticism since September of 2022 when a 22-year-old died while in police custody for the improper wearing of their hijab. This incident has sparked outrage within Iran with many people questioning the country’s human rights record.
  • The controversy surrounding the hijab has also spilled over into schools. Some schoolgirls protested against the government’s mandatory dress code by removing their head scarves in classrooms.

The government’s response

According to a report from Tasnim News Agency, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Naser Kanaani, has stated that the government’s top priority is to pursue and find the root cause of the suspicious poisonings that have been occurring over the past few months.

  • The spokesperson did not provide any further details on the government’s efforts to investigate the poisonings. Spokesperson Kanaani makes it clear that they are treating the situation with the utmost urgency.
  • They aim to provide ongoing updates on the investigation and hold those responsible accountable. By keeping the public informed on the progress of the investigation, the government hopes to lessen some of the worry and concern that families are feeling as their children return to school.

  • On the other hand, UNICEF Iran also shared their sentiments on the recent turn of events. In a Tweet posted on March 2, 2023, the agency stated (and translated), School is a safe haven for children and teenagers to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Such events can have a negative impact on the high rate of education of children, especially girls, which has been achieved in recent decades.

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