On Monday, May 1, activists from the Norwegian human rights organization Hengaw reported new cases of poisoning in girls’ schools in Iran. The incidents were reported to have occurred in the capital Tehran and in the Kurdistan region, which has experienced protests in recent months.
In the hometown of Jina Mahsa Amini, whose killing sparked nationwide protests in Iran, security forces are also said to have used violence against schoolgirls.
Initially, there was no official information regarding these incidents in Iran, where there has been unrest for about five months without interruption.
Across Iran, schoolgirls have received hospital treatment, and doctors have diagnosed them with gas poisoning. The authorities have officially registered thousands of suspected cases.
Some parents have withdrawn their children from schools due to concerns for their safety. Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, has called these incidents a “coordinated campaign.”
On Friday, Iran’s intelligence service released a final report on the poisonings, concluding that there is no organized network of perpetrators. The Secret Service argues that it is a case of nationwide mass hysteria.
The intelligence service’s report states that tests carried out found mainly traces of pepper spray or stink bombs, rather than more serious toxic substances. Parents and relatives of the victims have accused the authorities of failing to protect the children.
Protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody have sparked the biggest political crisis in decades in Tehran. Critics say that the poisonings are revenge for the demonstrations.