Medics, teacher, parents accuse Iran government of silencing victims of suspected poisoning attacks
Iran has experienced a surge Suspected poisoning attacks At girls’ schools across the country in recent days, medical staff and teachers accused government officials of trying to silence the victims, according to state and semi-state media.
Iran has seen a wave of suspected poisoning attacks at almost all-girls schools since late November. The hitherto unknown illnesses have affected hundreds of schoolgirls, many hospitalized.
Saturday is believed to be the worst day yet, with dozens of schools reporting incidents. Social media videos showed schoolgirls being taken in ambulances and oxygen canisters being used at locations across the country. CNN was able to confirm dozens of these new incidents, using video and witness testimony, in 10 states.
On Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called the suspected poisoning an “unforgivable crime”, demanding “severe punishment” for anyone found responsible. As of last Wednesday, no one had been arrested in connection with the incidents, according to Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi.
“This is a big and unforgivable crime. If it is proved that the students were poisoned then the perpetrators of this crime should be severely punished. There will be no apology for these people,” Khamenei said on the sidelines of a tree-planting event in Tehran, according to the official news agency IRNA.
In southeastern Khuzestan province, the number of suspected poisonings on Sunday was about 700 patients, according to state media outlet ISNA, citing Habib Haber, vice president of Ahvaz University of Medical Science.
Many of the reports and videos posted on social media were recorded on Saturday, the start of Iran’s five-day work and school week, which runs from Saturday to Wednesday.
In a statement carried by the state-aligned Tasnim news agency on Saturday, Vahidi said “suspicious substances” had been identified in connection with the incidents.
“During the field investigation by the concerned institutions, suspicious samples have been found, which are being tested in the laboratories to identify the cause of the complications among the students,” Wahidi said.
“The results will be declared by the health ministry at the earliest,” he added.
Wahdi also emphasized that the government’s top priority is the health of students, according to Tasneem.
As talk of the suspected attacks dominates the headlines, speculation has run rampant among Iranian lawmakers. On Friday, Iran’s hardline President Ibrahim Raisi blamed the incident on “Iran’s enemies” who aimed to spread unrest in the country.
“Recently, the enemies who are orchestrating and waging media and psychological warfare in Iran are trying to undermine Iran’s security and create an atmosphere of despair by inciting insecurity and fear in Iranian society. expect,” Raisi said in a statement about the suspected poisoning attacks. .
Raisi did not directly specify who the “enemies” were, although Tehran habitually accuses the United States and Israel of acting against it.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Friday criticized Western governments for “shedding crocodile tears” over the poisonings.
Both the US and the UN have called on Iranian authorities to fully investigate the suspected poisonings and hold those responsible accountable.
Meanwhile, parents of the victims staged protests over the poisoning incidents, recalling the start of the nationwide uprising last September. On the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman died after being detained by Iran’s “morality police” and taken to a “re-education center” for allegedly not following the country’s conservative dress code.
Security forces reportedly fired tear gas at protests in the capital Tehran on Sunday. Social media videos show security forces dispersing the demonstrations.
CNN spoke to four medical sources who treated students who were poisoned, a teacher at one of the affected schools and four parents of victims, all of whom claimed they were pressured not to speak out about the issue. was gone
A doctor who has treated several of the affected students told CNN that he believes his phone was being monitored. He and three other medical sources said hospital administrators ordered them to refrain from speaking publicly about the issue in what they described as a government-led campaign of silence.
On Sunday, social media videos showed several schoolgirls receiving medical attention at Yazd Hospital in central Iran.
“The private school was attacked with gas. All the children have difficulty breathing,” said the woman filming the video. “This is our country. They don’t even know what they are doing.” ‘