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Iran: Protests erupt over alleged poisoning of schoolgirls | World News

Hundreds of girls in more than 30 schools fell ill, and Iran’s interior minister said investigators had found “suspicious samples”.

go through Sky News reporter Niamh Lynch @niamhielynch

Saturday 4 March 2023 at 21:20, UK

Protests have erupted in the Iranian capital Tehran after hundreds of girls in dozens of schools were suspected to have been poisoned.

Parents gathered outside an education ministry building in the west of the city on Saturday in what turned into an anti-government demonstration.

“Basij, guards, you are our Daesh,” the protesters chanted, likening the Revolutionary Guards and other security forces to the Islamic State group.

“I feel pain in my chest”

Similar protests are understood to have taken place in two other Tehran districts and other cities including Isfahan and Rasht.

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protests such as IranThe interior minister said on Saturday that investigators had found “suspicious samples”.

“During field studies, suspicious samples were found and investigations are underway on these samples … to determine the cause of the student’s illness and the results will be announced as soon as possible,” Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said in a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA. .

An affected student is being interviewed by reporters

Girl students in more than 30 schools in at least 10 of Iran’s 31 provinces I got sick the last few months.

Videos on social media showed students being taken to hospital by ambulance or bus, while other children were taken home by parents gathered outside the school.

Other online posts appeared to show girls reporting heart palpitations, nausea and headaches.

A picture of relatives at the bedside of a girl who required hospital treatment: AP

The country’s health minister said the girls had been attacked with “mild poison” and officials blamed Tehran’s enemies.

But some politicians say the students could be targets of hardline Islamist groups opposed to girls’ education.

Authorities at a school in Iran. Image: AP

this United Nations The Geneva human rights office has called for a transparent investigation into the alleged attack, and several countries, including Germany and the United States, have expressed concern.

Iran rejected a “hasty response,” with a spokesman for its foreign ministry telling state media on Friday: “One of the top priorities of the Iranian government is to resolve the issue as soon as possible and provide written information to address the concerns of the families and hold the perpetrators and causes accountable.”

Fires lit during protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in September

The suspected mass poisoning follows anti-government protests sparked by the death of a 22-year-old man in September Massa Amini Under the supervision of a morality police who enforce a strict dress code.

Schoolgirls took part in anti-government protests that began in September.

Martha Amini.Photo: Iran Center for Human Rights

They removed mandatory turbans in classrooms, tore up photos of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and called for his execution.

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