Iran To Probe ‘Revenge’ Poisoning Of Girls Over Hijab ProtestsFeb 28, 2023 | Pratirodh Bureau
Iranian authorities have confirmed they are investigating reports that several schoolgirls were poisoned as “revenge” for the role the young women played in the recent protests against the mandatory hijab, the media reported.
Iran’s deputy education minister, Younes Panahi, told reporters on Monday that “after the poisoning of several students in (the city of) Qom, it was found that some people wanted all schools, especially girls’ schools, to be closed”, The Guardian reported.
Dr Homayoun Sameyah Najafabadi, a member of Parliament’s health commission, also confirmed the poisoning of schoolgirls “in cities such as Qom and Borujerd has been done intentionally”.
A doctor who specialises in the treatment of poisoning victims said they believed the motive was to “scare the protesters by using extremist groups (radical Islamists) inside and outside the country”.
“They want to take revenge on schoolgirls who are the pioneers of the recent protest,” the doctor said.
“Never before have I treated someone who was poisoned with organophosphate agents. The only cases I treated were workers who were exposed to these agents in agricultural pesticides.”
The attacks have led to girls staying away from school.
A teacher from Qom, which is about 85 miles south of the capital Tehran, told Radio Farda that out of 250 students, only 50 attended classes, reports the Guardian.
Last week, angry parents protested outside the governor’s office in Qom and several schools have been closed due to the pending investigation.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian human rights activist based in New York, told the Guardian: “In my opinion, this chemical attack is revenge by the Islamic Republic against the brave women who (rejected) the mandatory hijab and shook the ‘Berlin Wall’ of (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei. I call this biological terrorism, and it should be investigated by the UN. We need an outside organisation to investigate as soon as possible.”
By early February, more than 19,600 people had been arrested during the protests against the mandatory hijab, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that’s been tracking the crackdown. At least 527 people have been killed as authorities violently suppressed demonstrations, the group said. Iran hasn’t offered a death toll for months.
It already has executed at least four people detained amid the protests after internationally criticised trials.
All this comes as Iran’s nuclear deal has collapsed and Tehran has enough highly enriched uranium to potentially build several atomic bombs if it chooses, the United Nations’ top nuclear envoy has said.
A shadow war between Iran and Israel has risen out of the chaos, with Tehran blaming Israel for a drone attack on a military workshop in Isfahan in January-end as well.
Meanwhile, in on December 8, 2022, Iran executed a prisoner convicted for a crime allegedly committed during the country’s ongoing nationwide protests, the first such death penalty carried out by Tehran.
The execution came as other detainees also faced the possible death penalty for their involvement in the protests, which began first as an outcry against Iran’s morality police and have expanded into one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s theocracy since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Activists warned others could be put to death as well soon, since at least a dozen people so far have received death sentences over their involvement in the demonstrations.
“The execution of #MohsenShekari must be me(t) with STRONG reactions otherwise we will be facing daily executions of protesters,” wrote Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the director of the Oslo-based activist group Iran Human Rights. “This execution must have rapid practical consequences internationally.”