Around 100 people have been identified, arrested and investigated in connection with the recent poisonings of students across Iran, the state-run IRNA reported.
Hundreds of schoolgirls in Iran have fallen ill in recent months and many parents believe they were poisoned. Protests were sparked across the country following the poisoning incidents, with some blaming hard-line Islamist groups, known to oppose the education of girls, for the vile attacks.
Citing a statement from Iran’s Interior Ministry, the Iranian news agency IRNA said that detentions took place in several cities, including the capital Tehran, and the conservative city of Qom, where most of the poisoning incidents took place.
“Initial inquiries show that a number of these people, out of mischief or adventurism, with the aim of shutting down classrooms and influenced by the psychological atmosphere created, have taken measures such as using harmless and smelly substances”, the statement said, adding that the detainees were cautioned and that they will remain under investigation until the required assurances are achieved.
The ministry accuses the protestors of creating fear and horror among the public and students, with the aim of shutting down schools and creating bad feeling towards the Islamic establishment.
Although Iran has rejected international efforts which it calls foreign meddling and “hasty reactions”, the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva has called for a transparent investigation into the suspected attacks, and countries including Germany and the United States have voiced concern.