Since November 2022, almost 700 schoolgirls in Iran have been poisoned by toxic gas. While there have been no fatalities, some believe the attacks are a deliberate attempt to force schools to shut down to deprive young women of an education.
Others contend that the attacks may be in retaliation for the mass protests that swept Iran after the brutal murder of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini from injuries sustained at the hands of regime thugs. Mahsa was arrested for the “improper” wearing of a hijab.
In December 2022, The Gateway Pundit reported on the more than a thousand Iranian students who were allegedly poisoned ahead of a massive anti-regime national protest.
In October, video captured young women removing their hijabs and making an obscene gesture at portraits of their clerical leaders in their classrooms.
The Iranian government claims to be investigating the attacks, but their record on human rights and protecting women is abysmal, and public concern, fear and frustration continue to grow.
The first poisoning took place on 30 November, when 18 students from the Nour Technical School in the religious city of Qom were taken to hospital.
Since then, more than 10 girls’ schools have been targeted in the surrounding province.
At least 194 girls are reported to have been poisoned in the past week at four schools in the city of Borujerd, in the western province of Lorestan.
And on Tuesday another 37 students were poisoned at the Khayyam Girls’ School in Pardis, near the capital Tehran.
The poisoned girls have reported the smell of tangerine or rotten fish before falling ill.
Earlier this month, at least 100 people protested outside the governor’s office in Qom.
“You are obliged to ensure my children’s safety! I have two daughters,” one father shouted in a video widely shared on social media. “Two daughters… and all I can do is not let them go to school.”
“This is a war!” declared a woman. “They are doing this in a girls’ high school in Qom to force us to sit at home. They want girls to stay at home.”
Some parents have said their children were ill for weeks after the poisoning.
Another video from a hospital shows a teenage girl lying dazed on a bed, with her mother beside her.
“Dear mothers, I’m a mother and my child is in a hospital bed and her limbs are weak,” says the distraught mother. “I pinch her but she doesn’t feel anything. Please don’t send your children to school.”