Iran’s president and foreign minister say the mysterious poisoning of schoolgirls in several cities is in line with a hybrid war being waged on the country by the enemies.
The incident started in late November in the holy city of Qom where about 50 female students fell ill and had to be transported to hospital. Similar poisonings have since happened in several other schools in Qom, Tehran, and Kermanshah in the west and Ardabil in the northwest. Scores of schoolgirls have been affected in each incident, and some have had to be hospitalized.
President Ebrahim Raeisi said on Friday the enemy, as part of a psychological war, is “seeking to create stress and anxiety among students and parents so that chaos is formed”.
“One day, the enemies instigate street riots and another day they try to create problems in the field of education and schools because despite all the plots, people across the country came to the scene and defeated the enemy on February 11” where several million Iranians took to streets to mark the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Raeisi said.
The president said he had tasked his ministers of intelligence and interior to follow up the issue at the earliest and make their findings public.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Friday hit out at Western governments for “shedding crocodile tears” over the poisonings.
“The interventionist reaction of some Western authorities to the question of the suspected poisoning of dear Iranian female students is the continuation of the enemy's hybrid war,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
“The relevant institutions of the country are following up seriously and meticulously examining its dimensions. The great nation of Iran know crocodile tears very well!”
His remarks came after Germany said the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of schoolgirls in Iran should be fully investigated by authorities.
"The reports of schoolgirls being poisoned in Iran are shocking," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Twitter.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the issue is "deeply concerning" and the world needs to know what is causing the ailments.
Iranian officials have already said foreign intelligence agencies, especially the CIA, orchestrated the violent riots which hit Iran for several weeks.
Many Western countries expressed their support for the riots which claimed dozens of lives from security forces and innocent people.
Iran slams Germany’s ‘hypocritical stance’
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said that Germany’s stance on the issue is “hypocritical and meddlesome.”
In a tweet on Friday, Kan’ani reacted to the German foreign minister’s tweet that had alleged violation of girls’ rights in Iran and called for addressing the issue.
“One of the bitter facts that still needs clarification is the chemical poisonings through German-made toxic gases during the Saddam-imposed war [on Iran] which still takes lives,” he wrote, referring to the use of German-made chemical weapons against Iranian people during the eight-year war.
“Your expression of concern on this case is hypocritical and meddlesome,” he added.
Kan’ani also said that the Iranian government is very serious about “identifying and uprooting this ill will,” adding that Tehran will not allow others to foment insecurity for Iranian girl students with “political motivations.”
In an earlier statement on Friday, Kan’ani said that the “hasty” and “bizarre” remarks of some foreign officials on the issue were a continuation of their “meddlesome political stances” about Iran in recent months. He also warned against any abuse of humanitarian issues for the purpose of achieving political goals.
He urged these countries, which have “a long list of human rights violations against the Iranian people on their dark record,” to stop making such statements.