Reportedly, since late November, there have been hundreds of cases of airborne poisoning among schoolgirls in Qom, south of Tehran. The officials have sought an explanation from the parents of the girls. On February 14, the parents of the ill female students gathered outside the governor’s office to whom the authorities “asked for an explanation”, reports Iran’s official news agency IRNA.
Education Minister had told ‘rumour’
The next day, government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said the intelligence agency and the education ministry were trying to determine the cause of the poisoning, according to AFP. However, earlier, Education Minister Yusuf Noori had termed the reports of poisoning of schoolgirls as ‘rumours’. He had claimed that the girl students were admitted to the hospital due to ‘chronic ailments’.
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Iran giving advice to Afghanistan
The poisonings come days after Iran and China urged neighboring Afghanistan to lift restrictions on women’s work and education. Women in Iran have been on the streets since September last year against the hijab. Public anger has flared up after the death in police custody of a woman arrested for ‘improperly wearing a hijab’. After this, women registered their protest by burning hijabs on the streets and cutting their hair.