In the last three months, hundreds of girls in dozens of all-female schools in Iran have been poisoned in what officials are now acknowledging may be a deliberate crime. Initially dismissed by Tehran as a “rumor” or “delusion,” the crisis has become too serious to ignore. The regime’s misogynistic tendencies are evident in this tragedy.
The first case occurred in the all-female Nour high school in Qom, near the capital. According to the state-run Entekhab website, the chain poisoning happened seven more times in the same school and others in the city, sending dozens of female students to the hospital.
MP Ahmad Amir Abadi Farahani from Qom was quoted in the Entekhab website making a ridiculous and controversial remark claiming that “claustrophobia” could be the cause. However, Yousef Nouri, Ebrahim Raisi’s Minister of Education, suggested that the inhalation of ammonia gas or carbon dioxide leaking from the heating systems of schools may have been the reason.
The state-run ISNA News Agency on February 7 quoted Bahram Einollahi, the Minister of Health, who considered the poisoning as a “minor incident” without any “microbial origins.” Other officials tried several baseless excuses and counted “stress” as the primary reason for the growing number of poisoning and hospitalizations of students in all-female schools.
In recent days, particularly on Thursday, dozens of students in all-female and general universities were poisoned. This incident has been going on for three months, leading to anti-regime protests in Tehran and other cities on March 1 and 2. Students and their parents expressed their outrage over the regime’s deliberate crime, chanting slogans against the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. The regime’s security forces responded with violence, beating several and arresting dozens.
This crime, with many considering the ruling clerics behind it, and people’s reactions, has caused much stir in the regime. During Wednesday’s session of parliament, MP Abdolali Mozaffari acknowledged that at least 15 cities are grappling with many poisoned school girls. This acknowledgment fanned the flame in the regime’s Majlis (parliament), and the parliament speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, forced Mozaffari to denounce his own remarks. On March 1, the state-run Etemad daily admitted that “schoolgirls have been poisoned in ten provinces and 58 schools across Iran.”
This crime, its broad scope, and the rising social anger and disgust have confused and rocked the regime’s boat, fueling the ruling theocracy’s internal crisis.
“The security systems claims it can capture terrorists on air and arrest criminals before they are even to execute the crime. But when it comes to issues like acid attacks on women and girls in Isfahan or poisoning of students, which has been going on for 100 days, there is no trace of the security forces,” wrote the state-run Baharnews website on February 28.
In reaction to the growing wave of dissent, the regime made an insidious attempt to hide its mercenaries’ criminal role in intentionally poisoning schoolgirls. Thus, regime officials’ remarks and state media reports were riddled with controversy and lies.
On March 1, the Tasnim News Agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), quoted a “knowledgeable source” about “the security forces arresting three individuals.” This claim was soon rejected by Ahmad Vahidi, the regime’s Interior Minister.
“No one has been arrested in connection with the poisoning of the students. The security forces are busy finding clues. So far, no particular reason has been found, as the reason is a unique substance. So far, we have not had a definitive report of a specific substance. It is not possible to make a final statement,” he said on March 1, according to Tasnim News Agency, an outlet linked to the IRGC Quds Force.
The role of the misogynist regime in the nationwide series of poisoning schoolgirls is so apparent that even state media inevitably admit it. On February 28, the state-run Ettellat daily considered this crime as the “result of group actions organized and directed by the think tank and aimed at specific goals.
The poisoning of school girls is not the first action of the misogynous regime trying to intimidate society. Between 2014 and 2015, there were several acid attacks on women in public places by state-affiliated thugs.
The nationwide uprising in Iran has rattled the regime’s foundation. Women and girls played a key role in leading protests. Thus, the regime wants to intimidate them.
The deliberate #poisoning of schoolgirls in Qom, Tehran, Ardabil, Kermanshah, etc. continues, with Khamenei's henchmen using it to take revenge on girls active during the uprising. It supplements the work of the Morality Police. I urge Iran's courageous youth to protest. pic.twitter.com/mLbdyLFVJD
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 1, 2023
On March 1, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in this regard, said: “Khamenei’s henchmen have replaced and supplemented the Guidance Patrol with this malicious act and used it as a tool to take revenge on the girls in the uprising.”
She called on the youths to stage protests and called on bodies defending human rights, children’s and women’s rights to condemn this massive crime, and the UN rapporteurs on children and women, and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, to hold the mullahs’ regime to account, and demanded the dispatch of a delegation by the World Health Organization to carry out an investigation into this disaster.