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Leader says poisoning of students 'unforgivable' crime, calls for 'maximum punishment'

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called the suspected poisoning of students in Iran's schools an “unforgivable and big” crime, calling on authorities to seriously pursue the issue.

“If it is proven that the students were poisoned, the perpetrators of this crime must be severely punished. There will be no amnesty for them,” the Leader stressed.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks on Monday as he planted saplings to mark Iran’s national Arbor Day.

“Officials should seriously pursue the issue of students poisoning. This is a big and unforgivable crime,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that responsible bodies, including intelligence and law enforcement agencies, should find the origin of the crime, as well as the agents and the masterminds.

"This is a crime, as it is perpetrated against the most innocent members of the society, the children. It also causes fear and psychological insecurity in the society and worries families. These issues should be followed seriously, and if the perpetrators are convicted, there will be no amnesty for them. And they must be punished and their punishment should serve as a lesson," the Leader added.

Since November 2022, some Iranian students have reported symptoms of poisoning while in school. The outbreak started in the central city of Qom before expanding to other cities.

In most cases, students suffered respiratory problems, nausea, fatigue and dizziness, while some were hospitalized.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi has also ordered the ministers of intelligence and interior to follow up on the poisoning cases.

“The enemy’s new conspiracy of creating fear in the hearts of students… and their parents is a crime and an inhumane act,” he said during a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to economic issues, saying, the country’s current problems regarding the value of the national currency, inflation and the high cost of living are the result of a single-product economy.

“Officials should use all possible economic ways to find the right solution to people’s problems,” the Leader said.

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