Iranian schoolgirls protest in front of a picture of the Supreme Leader and the late Ayatollah Khomeini
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Editor’s Note: Iranians have been transfixed by the poisoning of schoolgirls in cities such as Qom and Boroujerd.
The first case was reported on November 30 in Qom Province in central Iran. In recent weeks, the poisonings have spread beyond the province throughout the country.
One girl has reportly died and more than 7,000 have suffered effects.
Symptoms include fatigue, burning throats, nausea, headaches, and numbness in the body.
Some observers assess that elements of Iran’s regime, including the Revolutionary Guards, may have carrying out the organophospate poisoning to deter schoolgirls from continuing their involvement in nationwide protests.
Since the protests began last September, schoolgirls have been prominent in their defiance not only of compulsory hijab but also of other restrictions by Iran’s leadership.
In the original entry, EA contributor Deepa Parent writes for the Guardian:
UPDATE, MAR 8:
As they crack down on coverage of the poisonings of schoolgirls, Iranian officials have announced the first arrests over the incidents.
Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi said, “Based on the intelligence and research measures of the intelligence agencies, a number of people have been arrested in five provinces and the relevant agencies are conducting a full investigation.”
However, Mirahmadi indicated that some of those suspected of the poisonings may have connections with the Iranian regime. Rather than being arrested, the individuals were just given “guidance”.
Iran's deputy interior minister Mirahmadi on arrests made in the suspected poisoning of scnools: "In some cases that didn't have an opposition dimension, those involved were offered guidance."
Put simply, some of the people detained are not critics of the Islamic Republic. pic.twitter.com/Hd5bfJWCCb
— Kian Sharifi (@KianSharifi) March 7, 2023
With more girls were taken from their schools in ambulances on Tuesday, Iranian human rights groups said at least 7,068 students have been affected in at least 103 schools. Incidents have been reported in 99 cities in 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces.
The Interior Ministry played down the incidents on Monday, saying “benign stimulants” had been found in only 5% of hospitalized girls. The rest were suffering from “anxiety”, the Ministry claimed.
Protests were held outside the Education Ministry in Tehran, with leaders of teaching unions reportedly arrested by security forces.
In Sanandaj in northwest Iran, demonstrators chanted, “Death to the child-killing regime.” In the second city of Mashhad, parents held signs with Persian slogans comparing the Iranian regime to Nigeria’s Boko Haram, known for their violent attacks and abductions of schoolgirls.
۱۶ اسفند #رشت
تجمع معلمان و والدین دانش آموزان مقابل اداره کل آموزش و پرورش استان #گیلان که با گاز اشکاور توسط یگان ویژه و لباس شخصی ها به درگیری کشیده شد!#مهسا_امينی pic.twitter.com/N3QiOdA7KW
— توکالی (@ToukAlii) March 7, 2023
UPDATE 1324 GMT:
Iran’s authorities have expanded their crackdown over coverage of the poisonings of schoolgirls.
The Tehran prosecutor’s office announced on Monday that it is pursuing journalists, media managers, academics, and other individuals who have spoken out about the attacks.
“In the past week, court cases were filed against the managers of Hammihan newspaper, Roidad 24 news website and Shargh newspaper, as well as individuals including [reformist politician] Azar Mansouri, [political scientist] Sadegh Zibakalam, and [actor] Reza Kianian,” the office said.
Tehran Prosecutor General Ali Salehi warned that “those who spread lies and rumours…will be dealt with decisively and legally”.
Journalist Seyed Ali Portabatabaei, a reporter for Qom News, has already been arrested (see below).
UPDATE, MAR 7:
Twenty of Iran’s leading human rights lawyers have called for an independent committee to investigate the claimed poisonings of schoolgirls across the country since late November.
The lawyers called on three UN agencies — the World Health Organization, the UN Children’s Fund, and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to launch an immediate inquiry.
Areas to be examined include the source of poisoning, the targeting of schools and particularly schoolgirls, and provision of urgent and effective aid, support, and protection.
Compiling media reports, the Iranian outlet Etemad says more than 1,000 students in 91 schools in 20 of Iran’s 31 provinces have been attacked. The actual number of incidents is believed to be much higher.
Hundreds of schoolgirls have been hospitalized.
UPDATE, MAR 6:
The Supreme Leader has finally commented on the four-month wave of schoolgirl illnesses across Iran.
“Authorities should seriously pursue the issue of students’ poisoning,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at a ceremony on National Tree Planting Day. “This is an unforgivable crime….The perpetrators of this crime should be severely punished.”
At a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, President Ebrahim Raisi continued to blame “enemy conspiracies…aimed at creating inflammation in the society and disturbing the public mind and instilling fear among the children of this land”.
Authorities are continuing to crack down on reporting of the illnesses, detaining Ali Purtabatabaei of the Qom News website. It is unclear which regime institution seized the journalist and where he was taken.
People in Tehran protesting over the poisonings have also reportedly been arrested.
Parents in a hospital where school girls have been admitted for gas poisoning, in the city of Ramhormoz, Khuzestan province, #Iran.
Hundreds of school girls, as well as some school boys, have been deliberately attacked with gas in classrooms across Iran since November.
The… https://t.co/DLmkgBhfWg pic.twitter.com/uwFqEgRfN3
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) March 5, 2023
A clip of students transported by buses to hospital on Sunday from two girls’ grammar schools in Mashhad in northeast Iran:
مدارس مشهد به طور گسترده مورد حملات با گاز سمی قرار گرفتهاند و دانشآموزان با استفاده از اتوبوسهای اورژانس به مراکز درمانی منتقل شدهاند. گزارشها حاکی است دو دبیرستان دخترانه «تدین» و «صداقت» در مشهد امروز هدف این حملات قرار گرفتهاند.#مسمومیت_دانش_آموزان pic.twitter.com/4YlfPkglYp
— DW فارسی (@dw_persian) March 5, 2023
Zanjan in northern Iran:
Giftgasanschläge auf Mädchenschulen im #Iran gehen auch heute unvermindert weiter. Hier: Zanjan. Spezialist im Krankenhaus Masih Deneshvari sagte, dass es für gewöhnliche Menschen nicht möglich sei, Zugang zu solchen Gasen zu erhalten, mit denen die Schülerinnen vergiftet werden. pic.twitter.com/dLdU7QgkYm
— Natalie Amiri (@NatalieAmiri) March 5, 2023
UPDATE, MAR 5:
Female students reportedly fell ill in at least 33 cities across 17 Iranian provinces on Saturday.
In another sign of escalating concern, a source at a girls’ primary school in Islamshahr, south of Tehran, said only about 10 of nearly 600 students attended classes yesterday.
The Qom Seminary Teachers and Researchers Association, close to Iran’s reformist movement, claimed in a statement that incidents are aimed at “creating terror to prevent girls from studying…[in] an atmosphere of panic and public fear”.
The clerics said attacks on students “will only add to society’s accumulated dissatisfaction with the government” brought on by unemployment, government inefficiencies, and a “crisis of legitimacy of the system”.
It added that “contradictory and inconsistent claims made by some official authorities” are exacerbating the problem.
UPDATE 1326 GMT:
Iran’s top Sunni cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, has urged authorities to act over the poisonings at girls’ schools.
In his Friday Prayer in Zahedan in southeast Iran, Abdolhamid said:
Many believe that these poisonings are a continuation of the suppression of protests, that these girls were protesting in schools and that a group is now targeting them.
Anyone who doesn’t take action against this is not worthy of the country.
See also UPDATES: Iran Protests — Zahedan Demonstrators Again Defy Security Forces
UPDATE, MAR 4:
President Ebrahim Raisi has tried to blame the poisoning of hundreds of schoolgirls on Iran’s foes: “This is a security project to cause chaos in the country whereby the enemy seeks to instill fear and insecurity among parents and students.”
An Iranian official said a fuel tanker, found next to a school in a Tehran suburb and spotted in two other cities, was probably involved in the poisonings. The driver was arrested.
UPDATE, MAR 2:
Poisonings of schoolgirls continue to escalate, with reports of incidents at 26 schools on Wednesday.
Most of the new cases were in Tehran Province and in Ardabil Province in northwest Iran.
Citing a “reliable” source, Shahriar Heydari, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said, “Nearly 900 students from different provinces of the country have been poisoned.”
At a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raisi assigned Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli to lead a purported investigation into the incidents.
❗️ Mass poisonings of schoolgirls are reported in #Iran: over the past few months, hundreds of schoolgirls have been poisoned by an unknown toxic substance (presumably gas).
Religious fanatics who oppose women's education are suspected of involvement in the mass poisonings. pic.twitter.com/pJMjmmf3Sb
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 2, 2023
ORIGINAL ENTRY, FEB 28: Iranian authorities have confirmed they are investigating reports that several schoolgirls have been poisoned as “revenge” for the role young women played in recent protests against the mandatory hijab.
Iran’s Deputy Education Minister Younes Panahi told reporters on Sunday: “After the poisoning of several students in Qom…it was found that some people wanted all schools, especially girls’ schools, to be closed.”
He added: “It has been revealed that the chemical compounds used to poison students are not war chemicals….The poisoned students do not need aggressive treatment and a large percentage of the chemical agents used are treatable.”
Dr. Homayoun Sameyah Najafabadi, a member of Parliament’s Health Commission, also confirmed the poisoning of schoolgirls “in cities such as Qom and Borujerd has been done intentionally”.
Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, a doctor who specialises in the treatment of poisoning victims said, “With the data that’s available, the most probable cause of this poisoning could be a weak organophosphate agent. Even if some of the poisoned pupils show a sign of severe sweating, excess salivation, vomiting, intestinal hypermotility and diarrhea, then the attack was done using this agent.”
The doctor said they believed the motive was to “scare the protesters by using extremist groups inside and outside the country”.
“They want to take revenge on schoolgirls, who are the pioneers of the recent protests,” the doctor said. “Never before have I treated someone who was poisoned with organophosphate agents. The only cases I treated were workers who were exposed to these agents in agricultural pesticides.”
The attacks have led to girls staying away from school. A teacher from Qom – which is about 85 miles south of the capital Tehran – told Radio Farda that out of 250 students, only 50 attended classes. Last week angry parents protested outside the governor’s office in Qom and several schools have been closed due to the pending investigation.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian human rights activist based in New York, told the Guardian:
In my opinion, this chemical attack is revenge by the Islamic Republic against the brave women who [rejected] the mandatory hijab and shook the “Berlin Wall” of [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei.
As the Islamic State Iranian regime hates girls and women, I call on women across the globe – especially schoolgirls – to be the voice of Iranian students and call on the leaders of democratic countries to condemn this series of poisonings and isolate Khamenei’s regime.
I call this biological terrorism, and it should be investigated by the UN. We need an outside organisation to investigate as soon as possible.
This very rare cancer called “islamic republic” leaves its destructive mark on every aspect of life on iran.
Nothing is safe, from poisoning air people breath, the water they drink, the soil they live on . Nothing is safe, if it advances mullahs cause they set you on fire(cinema rexx 1978), if they can loot the public land, they set its forest on fire and assign it for private development, if they can steal by building a wasteful dam, they flood the plains and destroy its entire ecosystem, if they run out of money to steal they sell the public properties such as parks to highest bidder even it is another country, if schoolgirls cause trouble they poison them. Nothing is safe in the hands of mullahs.
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IranWire Exclusive: Defiant Iranian Girls Shown Porn Videos In Schools
“In October, IranWire received information that girls had gathered in the courtyard of Shahid Reihane-ul-Nabi school in Bandar Mahshahr, chanting slogans against the Islamic Republic.
Shortly afterward, a cleric accompanied by a woman wearing a hijab and men in uniforms and civilian clothes visited the school and gathered students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades in a classroom.
The visitors forced them to watch videos with porn scenes, including rapes and sexual intercourses between humans and animals, in a bid to convince the children that the protesters’ demands would lead to sexual decadence in Iran.”
Why anybody would be surprised at where mullahs’ mind is. khomeini’s in his great famous theses discusses “fornication with sheeps in great detail, and if the meat of that animal is still halal after fucking it 🙂
You can’t make this stuff up.
Here is a good night time reading, and insight to shiaism of islami republic.
I only have flipped through kashf al-asrar and velayat-e faqih when I was younger. To that end, I can say you can believe your eyes in what you read in there….if you don’t, find those books for yourself, those are real titles.
“At a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raisi assigned Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli to lead a purported investigation into the incidents.”
These poisonings have been happening for the past *70* days, and they have been reported by several news outlets. raisi notices it when it gets international attention. And then what will happen? What have happened to all other culprits of iri atrocities?
How is that they can find student protesters in classrooms in two days? but they are aajez(paralyzed) when it comes to finding their own culprit agents
Security forces again shoot at a family car in isfehan which result in killing Amir Ali, a two year boy
[Editor’s Note: The analysis notes that in the psychogenice case in Afghanistan, girls “were attending schools in defiance of the Taliban, stoking fears of reprisals”.
So, if this is psychogenic in Iran, what are the fears of reprisals that set off the incidents?]
Why Iran? Why Now?: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/its-catching/202303/psychology-and-the-mystery-of-the-poisoned-schoolgirls
“What is more likely: that the students have been the target of chemical attacks for which there is no evidence after three-and-a-half months or that they are suffering from psychogenic symptoms generated by stress – a condition that has been documented for millennia and for which the number-one target is young girls undergoing extreme, prolonged stress?”
[Editor’s Note: This is likely to be the Iranian regime’s line to avoid responsibility — if this episode was caused/exacerbated by stress, it must be because of the “enemy”, rather than by the conditions which Iranians endure because of the regime.]
Raisi alludes to the psychological stress the public was placed under by those promoting unrest inside Iran: https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/05/699350/Raeisi-Schoolgirl-poisonings-inhumane-crime-against-nation
““Through its hybrid war, the enemy sought to create despair among the people. And recently through its psychological war… the enemy sought to create stress and fear among students and parents so as to spark riots.”
Mass psychogenic illness likely responsible: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/06/iran-supreme-leader-schoolgirl-poisonings-unforgivable
“As more attacks were reported on Sunday, videos were posted on social media showing children complaining about pain in the legs, abdomen and dizziness. State media have mainly referred to these as “hysteric reactions”. The World Health Organization documented a similar phenomenon in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012, when hundreds of girls across the country complained of strange smells and poisoning. No evidence was found to support the suspicions and the WHO said it appeared to be “mass psychogenic illnesses”.
reza, wag your tail like any good dog. Your masters have new commands for you…..
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[Editor’s Note: The phrase “major metropolitan centers” is misleading here. There are cities in areas such as northwest and southeast Iran, where many of the killings by security forces have occurred.]
Quick review of the numbers of protesters killed [by security forces] during the 4 months of the unrest. According to Iranwire, 310 were killed (although this includes 4 men executed). It is basically the same as that claimed by Amnesty but less than that claimed by other activists/HR groups (500-600): https://iranwire.com/en/politics/108299-remembering-victims-iran-protests-2022/
Iran has 8 major metropolitan cities: Tehran, Karaj, Esfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Mashhad, Qom and Ahvaz. Here is the breakdown of civilian deaths in these cities:
1`Tehran: 17 killed
2. Karaj: 11 killed
3. Mashhad: 2 killed
4. Shiraz: 2 killed
5. Ahvaz: 1 killed
6. Tabriz: 1 killed
7. Esfahan: 0 killed
8. Qom: 0 killed
The total is 34 (half in Tehran). The list shows that the most violent clashes (90% of the deaths) occurred away from the major population centers.
When it suits you iran has thousands of towns and cities, but today, iran has 8 cities. You seem to think all readers are idiots like yourself and the rest of herd of cattle(goosaleh) who follow you.
If I were a murderer and rapist by association, I might downplay these crimes against humanity too, reza.
The 8n cities, where 25-30% of the population resides, are the ones which mattered the most during the 1979 Revolution.
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‘This Revolution Is Still Alive’: A Growing Number Of Iranian Women Defy The Hijab Law After Monthslong Protests
Women’s day protest across iran