Poisoning of schoolgirls in Iran snowballs into main public well being concern


As Iran roils in shock and anger on the poisoning of schoolgirls throughout the nation, authorities launched judicial and ministerial probes to uncover these accountable.

On Thursday, Tehran’s public prosecutor Ali Salehi introduced the formation of a particular department to observe up on the case, warning that the “perpetrators” would face strict authorized punishment.

His feedback got here after a number of faculties within the Iranian capital reported circumstances of a mysterious sickness that has despatched a whole lot of schoolgirls in several cities to hospitals in latest months.

In line with native media, dozens of schoolgirls at a faculty in Pardis, a suburb positioned 17 kilometers (about 11 miles) northeast of Tehran, had been poisoned. Comparable reviews additionally got here from Tehransar in western Tehran.

Salehi mentioned investigations began instantly after the primary circumstances of poisoning had been reported in Tehran with the cooperation of different related establishments.

Lots of of schoolgirls have been hospitalized in several cities throughout the nation since November final 12 months in what has been described as a wave of the mysterious sickness.

Although the precise variety of college students affected by the poisoning is but unknown, a senior lawmaker on Wednesday put the determine tentatively at “practically 900.”

Shahriar Heidari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s inside safety and overseas coverage fee, cited a “dependable supply” as saying that just about 900 schoolgirls had been poisoned in several cities up to now, as reported by native media.

From Qom to different cities

The primary circumstances of this mysterious sickness had been reported in November final 12 months, when a minimum of 18 schoolgirls had been transferred to a hospital within the central Iranian metropolis of Qom.

The scholars complained of varied signs together with nausea, complications, respiration issues, coughing, and physique ache. It adopted comparable incidents in different ladies’ faculties within the metropolis.

Iran’s Well being Minister Bahram Einollahi visited the town in mid-February and mentioned many samples from schoolgirls admitted at an area hospital had been taken for testing on the Pasteur Institute in Tehran.

Within the newest incident reported by native media final week, a minimum of 15 schoolgirls had been admitted to a hospital in Qom after complaining of respiratory issues.

From Qom, the wave steadily unfold to different cities, sending shockwaves throughout the nation.

Studies emerged on Wednesday concerning the poisoning of scholars at 11 ladies’ faculties within the northern metropolis of Ardabil “after smelling fuel or one thing comparable.”

A report by a state-run information company mentioned that a minimum of 400 schoolgirls had been admitted to hospitals and medical facilities in Ardabil with signs of poisoning, with 302 later discharged.

Dr. Ali Mohammadian, President of the Ardabil College of Medical Sciences, informed the state radio that the majority college students had been in “good situation,” whereas a minimum of 5% of them had extreme signs.

There have been comparable reviews from different cities as effectively, together with Kermanshah in western Iran.

Whereas the trigger continues to be shrouded in thriller, Iran’s Deputy Well being Minister Younes Panahi indicated earlier this week that the poisoning may very well be deliberate, geared toward stopping ladies from going to high school.

Panahi was quoted by native media as saying that the poisoning was brought on by “chemical compounds” and that the signs weren’t contagious, whereas ruling out any exterior causes.

“After the poisoning of a number of college students in Qom, it turned clear that individuals needed all faculties, particularly ladies’ faculties, to be closed,” Panahi informed a information convention in Mashhad.

His remarks got here shortly after Iran’s Prosecutor Normal Mohammad Jafar Montazeri ordered a judicial probe into the difficulty following protests by dad and mom in Qom.

Investigations underway

Amid the rising variety of poisonings, President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday ordered a time-bound investigation into the difficulty.

Addressing a Cupboard assembly in Tehran, Raisi ordered Inside Minister Ahmad Vahidi to search out the basis reason behind the mysterious poisoning “as quickly as potential.”

He additionally urged the Well being Ministry, Info Ministry, and different associated departments to help the Inside Ministry in investigating the case that’s now snowballing right into a grave public well being concern.

Later within the day, Vahidi convened a press convention and dismissed native media reviews about some college students being by paralysis resulting from poisoning and added that no arrests had been made up to now.

Tehran’s newly-appointed police chief Ahmedreza Radan additionally confirmed that nobody had but been arrested, including that efforts had been underway to unravel the matter.

Schooling Minister Yousef Nouri on Thursday morning went to Qom to observe up on the case, in accordance with sources. He’s anticipated to go to faculties the place circumstances of poisoning have been reported.

Hypothesis is rife that oldsters worry sending their youngsters to varsities in some cities because the variety of circumstances continues to surge.

In an interview with an area information company on Thursday, lawmaker Homayoun Sameyehnajafabadi urged dad and mom to “not forestall” their wards from going to high school, calling the poisoning of schoolgirls a conspiracy to “create terror within the society.”

Considerably, the difficulty comes months after protests marred by violence within the nation, sparked by the demise of a 22-year-old Iranian lady whereas in police custody in mid-September.

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