More than 100 college ladies had been poisoned in Iran on Wednesday in what some have speculated is an try to “shut all colleges, particularly ladies’ colleges” in the country.
In the northern city of Ardabil, students of seven girls’ schools were exposed to gas fumes, sending 108 people to the hospital, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Local media also reported similar cases in at least three schools in Tehran.
The incidents on Wednesday follow similar cases in different schools in Iran since November.
The first cases emerged in late November in Qom, some 125 kilometres southwest of the country’s capital Tehran. There, students from the Noor Yazdanshahr Conservatory fell ill, and again in December.
Other cases followed, with children complaining about headaches, heart palpitations, feeling lethargic or otherwise unable to move.
Nearly 800 students have been affected since those first cases in November, according to Zahra Sheikhi, a spokesperson for the parliamentary health committee.
At first, authorities didn’t link the cases. In winter, many schools in Iran are heated by natural gas, leading some to speculate that it could be carbon monoxide poisoning affecting the girls. The country’s education minister initially dismissed the reports as “rumours.”
But at first, the only schools affected were for young women, fueling suspicion the incidents were intentional. Since then, at least one boys’ school has been targeted as well.
The Ministry of Health said on Sunday that “sure folks” were seeking, through these actions, to “shut all colleges, particularly ladies’ colleges”.
Ali Reza Monadi, a countrywide parliament member on its training committee, described the poisonings as “intentional.”
Education is broadly approved as obligatory in Iran, the place ladies even constitute a majority of scholars in universities. Iran itself additionally has been calling at the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan to have women and girls go back to college.
The poisonings practice a crackdown on all dissent stemming from the loss of life of Kurdish lady Mahsa Amini in police custody final September. At least 95 newshounds had been arrested by way of government because the get started of the protests, consistent with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
Human Rights activists in Iran mentioned general the protection forces have killed a minimum of 530 other folks and detained 19,700 others.