Iran arrests 100 over schoolgirl poisonings

Tehran     -     Iran has announced over 100 arrests nationwide over the mystery poisonings of thousands of schoolgirls, charging that the unidentified alleged perpetrators may have links with “hostile” groups. In the wave of cases since late November, schoolgirls have suffered fainting, nausea, shortness of breath and other symptoms after reporting “unpleasant” odours on school premises, with some being treated in hospital. State media reported late on Saturday that the interior ministry had announced the arrests over the suspected poison attacks in more than 200 schools, which have sparked fear and anger among pupils and their parents. “More than 100 people who were responsible for the recent school incidents were identified, arrested and investigated,” the ministry said in a statement, carried by state news agency IRNA. “Among those arrested are people with hostile motives and with the aim of instilling terror in the people and students and to close schools.” The ministry added that “fortunately, from the middle of the last week until today, the number of incidents in schools has decreased significantly, and there have been no reports of sick students”. The statement pointed at possible links to an Albania- based exiled Iranian opposition group that Tehran considers a “terrorist” organisation, the People’s Mujahideen of Iran or Mujahideen-i-Khalq (MEK).

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