School poisoning in Iran: more than a hundred people arrested for hospitalizing girls with poisonous gas

Key points
  • Iranian police say 110 people have been arrested on suspicion of poison gas poisoning at girls’ schools.
  • No one has yet been identified, nor has the motive behind the incidents, which lasted three months, been revealed.
  • It is estimated that thousands of girls suffered from the poisoning, some of them were hospitalized.
Iranian police said 110 suspects have been arrested in connection with the suspect. .
Students say they were sickened by the noxious fumes in the November incidents, which took place mostly in girls’ schools.
Authorities say they are investigating, but nothing is known about who may be behind the incidents or what chemicals were used.

Unlike neighboring Afghanistan, there has never been a case in Iran where women’s education was harassed by the authorities, not even at the height of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

There were no fatalities, and some officials suggested that mass hysteria may have played a role.
Police spokesman General Said Montazerolmehdi announced the arrests in comments published by Iranian media.
He also said police had confiscated thousands of stink bomb toys, indicating that some of the alleged attacks may have been copycat pranks.

Others seem more serious, with hundreds of students hospitalized, according to reports from local media and human rights groups.

Women carry a girl on a stretcher

Last week, emergency services responded to reports of cases of poisoning at an elementary school in eastern Tehran. Source: AARP / SalamPix/ABACA/PA/Alamy

Iran has severely restricted independent media and arrested dozens of journalists since nationwide anti-government protests began last September following the death of .

He also targeted reporters covering the poisonings, although officials provided few details about what was going on.

A member of the government commission investigating the incidents said earlier this month that up to 5,000 students have complained of illness in 230 schools in 25 provinces.

Human rights activists in Iran, a group that has closely followed the recent protests, estimate the number of students at more than 7,000.
The World Health Organization recorded a similar phenomenon in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012, when hundreds of girls across the country complained of strange smells and poisoning.

No evidence was found to support the suspicions, and the WHO said it was a “massive psychogenic illness”.