Hundreds of Iranian girls have been hospitalized due to a wave of poisonings in schools. The students’ symptoms include respiratory problems, dizziness, vomiting, and fatigue, and the toxic substance inhaled is not known with certainty, although it is reportedly not a military-grade product. Authorities have said they are investigating, but the lack of detailed information and contradictions in officials’ statements have increased outrage in Iran, even among moderate representatives of the fundamentalist regime.
The allegations began in late November and have had as their epicenter girls’ schools in Qom, the holiest city for Shiite Islam. So far, more than 650 cases of poisoning have been reported at the school, and parents of affected students have refused to send their daughters to class. Some believe that the allegedly more radical sector of the Khomeinist regime is responsible, seeking some form of “revenge” for the months of street protests following the death in September of young Mahsa Amini, arrested for improperly wearing the Islamic veil.
The Khomeinist regime boasts of allowing access to education for women, but some analysts have pointed to the discrimination experienced by women in other areas. In any case, the regime’s lack of transparency and the existence of sectors seeking a “heavy hand” against protests make many doubt the purpose of this episode of terror in the classroom.
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