The Daily Telegraph
Iranian girls are being deliberately poisoned to stop them going to school, says minister
A SPATE of illnesses among children is being caused by deliberate poisoning intended to shut girls’ schools, a senior Iranian official has said.
Younes Panahi, deputy health minister, told reporters on Sunday that “certain individuals sought the closure of all schools, especially girls’ schools” and had deliberately poisoned pupils with “chemical compounds”, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Mr Panahi did not give further details but in recent months Iranian media has reported that several hundred girls have fallen ill at school, with many reporting having detected a strange odour, sometimes described as smelling of fruit or tangerines.
In the past week, 15 schoolgirls were reported to have been hospitalised with poisoning symptoms in Qom, Iran’s religious capital, while the governor of Borujerd, the capital of Lorestan province, announced that 82 schoolgirls had been hospitalised with carbon monoxide poisoning.
The incidents have all occurred at girls’ schools, with the first reported in November in Qom. About 100 miles south of Tehran, Qom is home to Iran’s clergy and theological seminaries, where most of the country’s leaders have studied.
At least 14 schools in four cities have reported similar experiences, including Tehran, the capital, and Ardabil, in the northwest.
One video shared online showed a row of ambulances parked outside a school while paramedics attend to young women, one of whom is lying on the ground.
Another video shared by state news agencies showed angry parents confronting education officials to demand a response to the incidents.