Iran has arrested the first suspects in poisoning schoolgirls, the deputy interior minister said. Since November, girls on their way to school have been poisoned en masse.
“Several people have been arrested in five provinces, and authorities are continuing to investigate,” deputy interior minister Majid Mirahmadi told state television. He has not provided any information about their identities, involvement or the circumstances of the arrests.
According to a parliamentary committee of inquiry, more than 5,000 students from 230 schools have fallen victim. Cases of poisoning have already been reported in 25 of the 31 provinces. The first cases of mysterious poisonings were reported in November.
The Iranian government assumes that the attacks are targeted because girls’ schools are affected almost exclusively. Schoolgirls are being treated in hospitals across the country. Parents and relatives are furious because there is still no official explanation.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the poisonings “unforgivable” crimes on Monday. “The perpetrators of this crime must be severely punished. They will not be amnestied,” the country’s supreme leader told state media.