Iran: first arrests in the case of intoxicated schoolgirls

Iran: first arrests in case of intoxicated schoolgirls


Iran has announced the first arrests in the investigation into the series of poisonings that have affected thousands of schoolgirls and caused strong emotion in the country. 

These arrests come as parents of students mobilized to call on the authorities to act, more than three months after the first cases of poisoning.

Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi , appeared on state television on Tuesday to announce that “several people” had “been arrested in five provinces” based “on the basis of investigations carried out by the intelligence services”.

He did not did not give details of their identity, the circumstances of their arrest and their alleged involvement.

The day before, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had intervened to demand “severe sentences” for those found guilty of these acts, which he described as “unforgivable crimes”.

< p>They “must be condemned to severe penalties” and “there will be no amnesty” for them, warned the highest authority of Iran, which evoked this affair for the first time.


In total, “more than 5,000 students have been affected” in “some 230 schools” located in 25 of the country's 31 provinces since the end of November, said Tuesday Mohammad-Hassan Asafari, a member of the parliamentary commission of inquiry in charge of to shed light on the causes of this wave of poisonings.


Each time, the phenomenon repeated itself: students in girls' schools breathe in 'unpleasant' or 'unfamiliar' odors and then exhibit symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness.

“A very bad smell spread all of a sudden, I felt bad and fell on the ground,” said a schoolgirl.

Some of these students are briefly hospitalized but none has so far been seriously affected. “No dangerous substance was detected in those who were examined in the medical centers,” according to the Ministry of the Interior.

Mr. Asafari clarified that the “tests conducted to identify” these substances had not made it possible to determine them with certainty.

On Sunday, Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi accused the “authors of the poisoning of the girls” of wanting to “close the schools”, but also of “blaming the system” in order to “rekindle the flame extinct from the riots”.

He was referring to the protest movement sparked in Iran by the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by the morality police who accused her of having violated the strict dress code imposing in particular on women the wearing of the veil.

For his part, President Ebrahim Raïssi called on the State services to “defeat the plot of the enemy” who “wants to sow fear, insecurity and despair”.

This case also causes some trouble outside the borders of Iran.

The United States called on Monday for “a credible and independent investigation”. “If these poisonings are linked to participation in protests, then it falls squarely within the mandate of the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission,” established in November to investigate human rights abuses in Iran, he said. said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also called for “a transparent investigation” and public findings .

“The information about poisoned schoolgirls in Iran is shocking,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also ruled on Friday.