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Iran arrests several people over mysterious poisonings of schoolgirls

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian girls attend class at a private high school north of the capital Tehran in 2020. (Via EPA)

Iran’s deputy interior minister says several people have been arrested in connection with the recent suspected poisonings of schoolgirls in several cities across the country.

“Based on the intelligence and research measures of the country’s intelligence bodies, a number of people have been arrested in five provinces and the relevant bodies are conducting a full investigation,” Majid Mir-Ahmadi said on Tuesday, without providing further details on those detained.

“As soon as clear results are obtained, (the public) will be notified,” he added.

Mir-Ahmadi further stressed that those involved in a hybrid war against the country are behind the recent poisonings.

The arrests are the first announced by Iran over the poisonings which have gripped the country in recent months.

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.

The poisoning of schoolgirls triggered a wave of anger and demands for action from the authorities.

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

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

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

Iran’s president and foreign minister have already said the mysterious poisoning of schoolgirls in several cities is in line with a hybrid war being waged on the country by the enemies.

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