Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Seyed Majid Mirahmadi said on Tuesday, 7 March that the country's security agents have detained several individuals in connection with the mysterious poisoning of female students.
"Based on the intelligence inputs, a number of people have been detained in five provinces and the relevant agencies are conducting a full investigation," Mirahmadi stated.
"As soon as clear results are obtained, the public will be notified," he added.
These are the first arrests announced by Tehran over the schoolgirls poisonings case.
Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a member of a parliamentary fact-finding committee, has confirmed that around 230 schools in 25 out of Iran’s 31 provinces have been affected, and that more than 5,000 schoolgirls and boys have been poisoned.
Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the poisonings a "crime that cannot be forgiven" and promised the strictest action against the perpetrators.
Abolfazl Amouei, a member of Iran's Parliament, told The Quint, "It is a very important matter and we are following it painstakingly. We have asked education, intelligence and health officials to find out the truth of what happened. The causes could be different in different cases."
Several schoolgirls in Iran are learned to have suffered from mysterious cases of "poisoning" since November 2022. Dozens of them are currently being treated at hospitals across the country over apparent toxic gas attacks at schools.
First reported in the holy city of Qom, where about 50 schoolgirls were admitted to hospitals after they fell ill, the gas poisonings have since occurred at schools in Borujerd and Ardebi, among other cities.
While there have been no casualties yet, the girls have suffered respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and in some cases, weakness in their limbs.
This comes in the backdrop of anti-government protests in the country, which have been ongoing since September 2022. Some schoolgirls have been taking part in the demonstrations by removing their hijabs in classrooms and school premises.
(With inputs from Fars News.)