Iranians stage protests as dozens more schoolgirls fall ill in suspected poisonings


March 4 (UPI) — Protestors took to the streets of Tehran Saturday amid reports that dozens more Iranian schoolgirls were hospitalized in what the government calls a series of mysterious suspected poisonings.

The activist group 1500tasvir posted video clips of protestors gathering outside of buildings belonging to the Iranian Ministry of Health.


The newest wave of hospitalizations came a day after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi instructed his cabinet to track down the causes of the of illness that has sickened more than 1,000 children, mainly girls, in recent months.

Raisi took a conspiratorial tone, describing the illnesses as “the enemy’s conspiracy to create fear and despair in the people.”

Dozens of schoolchildren have developed symptoms including respiratory distress, dizziness and nausea since the illnesses were first reported Nov. 30 in the city of Qom, when 18 girls had to be hospitalized.

Many in Iran believe the girls are being poisoned by a toxic gas in a deliberate attempt to force their schools to close down after they emerged as centers of anti-government protests last year, the BBC reported.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Friday the government has vowed to find who is responsible for the illnesses and hold them accountable.


“The Islamic Republic will not have any doubt or delay in pursuing the reasons and causes of the suspicious event,” Kanaani said, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Last month, Iran’s prosecutor general, Jafar Montazeri, said he was opening an investigation into the incidents.