Iranian schoolgirls target of poisonous plot

TEHRAN, Mar. 06 (MNA) – In a mysterious wave of poisoning, hundreds of Iranian schoolgirls were admitted to hospitals, sending Iranian security and intelligence agencies scrambling to get to the bottom of the matter.

Right from the start, Iranian authorities chose to deal with the poisonings in an extremely transparent way. Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, while on a visit to the southern province of Bushehr, said he had instructed the ministries of intelligence and interior to follow up on the issue. 

Earlier, the Iranian interior minister, Ahmad Vahidi, had said that the country’s intelligence agencies were following up on the case and their finding will be released. 

A high percentage of what has happened to the children was due to anxiety that arose as a result of this issue, he said, according to a statement by the Iranian interior ministry. 

We cannot yet make a definitive remark about whether these accidents are personal or internal adventurism or related to factors outside the school, he stated.

Our enemies and those who are interested in causing problems in the country with various operations are trying to create fear, Vahidi said.

On Saturday, the interior ministry offered new updates on the issue. “Since the first incident happened in one of the schools of Qom, there have been reports of complications in some students in 52 schools. Medical examination of students who expressed discomfort, they monitored the internal and surrounding areas of the school,” it said in a separate statement. 

Citing data from the Health Ministry, the statement said most people affected by the poisonings were admitted to outpatient departments and discharged after receiving the necessary treatment. 

Underlining that intelligence and security bodies are investigating the matter, the statement said, “During the research of the relevant institutions, suspicious samples have been found, which are being investigated in the country's prestigious laboratories for specialized investigations to identify the causes of complications in students, and the results will be informed by the Ministry of Health as soon as possible.”

While the authorities are investigating the matter, foreign-based media and western officials have directly or indirectly pointed the finger of blame at Iran, falsely accusing the political establishment of poisoning its own people.   

First, they used the horrifying phrase “chemical attack” to refer to the poisonings, thus spreading fear and anger among Iranian parents and students. Then they blamed the Iranian government. 

“Let this sink in. There are now credible, and multiple reports of chemical attacks on girls' schools in Iran. The regime is poisoning girls to stop them protesting,” British MP Alicia Kearns said on Twitter, “We must urgently meet with allies to determine what we can do to save lives and stop the suffering.”

But pundits believe that the accusation that the Iranian establishment is behind the poisonings should be taken with a grain of salt because Iran by no means benefits from such a horrible thing. It’s a well-known fact that when bad things come about, one should look at who is benefiting from it. Besides, the Islamic Republic has been the biggest fan of women’s education. In the years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, access of women and girls to private and public education has tremendously improved. 

The poisonings came at a time when oppositionist elements publicly called for what they call “acts of honorable sabotage,” which refers to damage inflicted on the state and society with the aim of bringing about regime change. 

Observers believe that after the recent wave of unrest failed to achieve its goal, the enemy focused on continuing chaos and fear. 

In the meantime, western countries are increasingly fishing in troubled waters when it comes to Iran. They have expressed concerns about the poisonings. This while, experts say, these countries were the main supplier of chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein used against Iran in the 1980s war with Iran. Furthermore, these countries have imposed severe economic sanctions against Iran that increased hardships for millions of ordinary Iranians. 

By: Soheila Zarfam

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 198155


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