(NewsGlobal.com)- Thousands of instances of respiratory poisoning have been documented among students in Iran, the vast majority of whom are female, since late November, and some of them have required hospitalization.
According to Iran’s supreme commander, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, if the poisoning of more than a thousand schoolgirls is found to have been an act of premeditated murder, those responsible should be executed.
First reported in Qom to the south of Tehran, the poisonings have spread throughout the nation, even reaching Tehran’s educational institutions. It is believed that the assaults are an extreme reaction to the widespread demonstrations spearheaded by women and girls throughout Iran in recent months. Protests over the alleged poisonings continued throughout the weekend in Iran and elsewhere, with Reuters reporting that a group gathered in front of the Education Ministry in western Tehran.
Iranian psychology student Nikoo Azad donned a mask designed to raise awareness while she held a quiet protest in Bangalore, India.
Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s interior minister, said that investigators had collected “suspicious samples” and blamed unidentified opponents for sowing panic to bring down the Islamic Republic.
When statewide demonstrations began in September, videos of distraught parents and schoolgirls in emergency rooms with IVs in their arms proliferated on social media. Authorities in Iran have reportedly detained Ali Pourtabatabaei, a reporter based in Qom who has been writing extensively on the alleged poisonings. The government has targeted reporters critical of the handling by Iran.
Young victims of the poisonings have allegedly expressed concerns about experiencing headaches, heart palpitations, lethargy, and inability to move. It seems that no one has died. They have been chiefly labeled as “hysteric responses” by state media.
From 2009 to 2012, hundreds of girls in Afghanistan reported feeling sick due to an unknown odor or feeling like they had been poisoned.
The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that there was insufficient data to rule out the possibility of “mass psychogenic disorders.”