Iran’s police arrest 110 people over poisonings at girls schools
Iranian authorities arrested 110 people on suspicion of being linked to suspected poisonings at girls schools that have hospitalized hundreds of students since November.
Saeed Montazeralmahdi, a spokesman for Iran’s police command, said the arrests were the result of an increase in police foot patrols around affected institutions, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported on Wednesday.
A spate of mass illnesses has spread through hundreds of Iranian schools over the past few months, with teachers and students reporting the presence of noxious gas and smells that have caused vomiting and nausea. That’s coincided with the biggest popular uprising against the Islamic Republic’s theocratic leadership since it was founded after the 1979 revolution — with women and girls playing a central role.
The protests followed the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who was arrested for allegedly flouting Islamic dress codes.
Schoolgirls have staged classroom protests rebuking the male clerics that run the country. Several teenage girls have been beaten to death by security forces, according to the United Nations and several rights groups.
Montazeralmahdi didn’t give details about the people arrested or if the police had determined the chemicals used. He said “stink bombs” had been deployed in some cases and that a number of cases were the result of “psychological factors” rather than poisoning.
Arrests weren’t made until Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke publicly to condemn the attacks for the first time last week.