More than a hundred young girls were poisoned by gas on Wednesday March 1 in schools in Iran, after a series of similar cases since November which has aroused growing emotion in the country, according to local media.
Pupils from seven girls' schools in the northwestern city of Ardabil were indisposed in the morning by gas fumes and 108 people were taken to hospital, the head of the department said. hospital of the latter to the Tasnim press agency.
The general condition of the students, who suffered from breathing difficulties and nausea, is evolving favorably, he said. The media also reported new cases of poisoning in at least three establishments in Tehran.
In a high school in Tehransar, in the west of the capital, students were "poisoned by the projection of a kind of spray", explained, for its part, the Fars news agency, which quotes parents of 'students. The same source reported the mobilization of emergency services on site.
800 students affected since the end of November
According to estimates given on Wednesday by spokeswoman for the parliamentary health committee, Zahra Sheikhi, nearly 800 students have been affected since the first cases of respiratory poisoning in the holy city of Qom in late November, including four hundred others in Boroujerd (West). According to the results of toxicological examinations provided by the Ministry of Health and cited by a deputy, the toxic substance used in Qom was composed in particular of N2 gas, based on nitrogen, used in industry or as agricultural fertilizer.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday instructed Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi to "follow up the case as soon as possible" and to "inform" the public about the investigation in order to "sweep away the concerns of families,” according to the presidency website. In the afternoon, Mr. Vahidi announced to the press that the authorities were still investigating "possible responsibility" for the poisonings but that no arrests had yet been made. "So far, we have no definitive report that a specific substance of a toxic nature was used" to poison students, he added.
The case has caused a wave of anger in the country, where voices have denounced the silence of the authorities in the face of the growing number of schools affected. Some schoolgirls were briefly hospitalized but none were seriously affected.
The Ministry of Health explained on Sunday that "certain individuals" were seeking, through these actions, to "close all schools, especially girls' schools". Object of a broad consensus, education for all is compulsory in Iran, where girls even represent a majority of students in universities.