Photo Credit: Twitter screenshot
Plainclothes security forces brutalize the mother of a poisoned schoolgirl in Tehran, March 1, 2023.

Iranian Interior Ministry’s Deputy for Security Affairs Majid Mirahmadi said on state TV Tuesday the Interior Ministry, Intelligence Ministry, Health Ministry, Education Ministry, Police, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Intelligence Department, and Civil Defense Organization have collaborated to arrest several suspects in five provinces in connection with the poisoning of schoolgirls across the country.

On Sunday, authorities reported that more than 50 schools had been struck by poisoning in 21 out of Iran’s 30 provinces. According to a March 1 report by Etemaad News, a reformist newspaper published in Tehran, hundreds of schoolgirls have been poisoned in at least 58 schools in 10 provinces across the country over the past three months.


Also on Sunday, the Shargh News Network reported that many students were poisoned and taken to the hospital after inhaling gas at Yarjani Girls’ Primary School in Narmak, Tehran.

Videos on social media show students from one affected school chanting slogans in protest while plainclothes officers are violently attacking a mother who had come to the school. The police issued a statement denying its role in the attack.

Mirahmadi said the enemies of Iran seek to cause trauma and anxiety among the students, disrupt the educational system in Iran, and exaggerate the problem. He warned internal and external enemies behind the recent riots in Iran of a full investigation by the intelligence organizations.

The NY Times reported on Tuesday that the rial has lost 30% of its value against the dollar since January 1. This is the latest setback for Iran’s economy since 2018 when President Donald Trump imposed harsher sanctions on Iran after terminating the nuclear talks.

After growing steadily until 2011, with poverty rates falling, Iran’s economy is crushed. In 2015, when the original nuclear deal was signed, the Iranian real’s exchange rate was 32,000 to the dollar. Today it hovers around 500,000. Poverty is back in full force, especially in the countryside. And the countryside is where the clerical regime gets the bulk of its popular support.

The attacks on schoolgirls may not come from the usual suspects, but from within Iran’s religious circles. On February 26, Younes Panahi, Iran’s deputy health minister said: “After repeated poisoning of students in Qom schools, it became evident that some people wanted all schools, especially girls’ schools, to be closed down.”

Teenage girls throughout Iran have been at the forefront of Iran’s recent protests after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death in chastity police custody on September 16, 2022. It’s been schoolgirls who are chanting, “women, life, freedom,” against the tyranny of the ayatollahs. Rank and file Iranians, unlike most government officials, are afraid the poisoning is aimed at intimidating schoolgirls.


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