Mass Poisoning of Iranian Schoolgirls


Claire Sloniewsky, Staff Writer

Since November of 2022, more than 1,200 Iranian girls in at least 60 different schools across the country have been targeted in poison attacks.  The cause of these poisonings was unknown, with many suspecting that they are retribution for protests led by Iranian females, women, and girls, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iranian police, from her improper hijab. At least one young schoolgirl has died from these attacks, with many more suffering from harmful symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, burning throats, numbness, and headaches, that could have long-term implications for their health. However, the actual cause of these horrific poisonings remains unclear.

Currently, Iran is experiencing severe unrest as many violent protests have been carried out in the country. These protests began in Saqqez, Amini’s hometown, and spread rapidly throughout Iran. In response to these uprisings, the government has begun utilizing Internet restrictions and blackouts, gunfire, and tear gas.

As a result, it has been especially difficult for reporters and news sites to cover the recent poisonings due to the draconian press restrictions and lack of evidence of these attacks. A review of blood tests revealed no evidence of toxins. However, there is still a possibility of the use of poisonous substances possibly due to their ability to quickly degrade. The severity of these poisonings can be seen by the massive number of victims, with as many as 5,000 students complaining about feeling sick in over 230 schools across Iran. In light of these attacks and the studies conducted, Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has said, “In field studies, suspicious samples have been found, which are being investigated… to identify the causes of the students’ illness, and the results will be published as soon as possible” (CNN). As the cause of these brutal and dangerous poisonings has not yet been determined, Iranian officials will continue their investigation.

Iranian officials are hoping to put an end to this tragedy with the arrests of more than 100 individuals who could possibly be connected to this case. Iran’s Interior Ministry, IRNA said the people had been “identified, arrested and investigated” in several cities, including the capital Tehran. In this statement, the IRNA listed possible motives saying, “Initial inquiries show that a number of these people, out of mischief or adventurism and with the aim of shutting down classrooms and influenced by the created psychological atmosphere, have taken measures such as using harmless and smelly substances” (CNN).