Iran's Supreme Leader Orders Punishment For Schoolgirls Poisoning

    Iran's Supreme Leader Orders Punishment For Schoolgirls Poisoning
    Last updated Mar 06, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters


    • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday stated that the perpetrators of the alleged poisonings of schoolgirls across the country must face the death penalty, as responsible organizations are still investigating the origin of this crime.[1]
    • This comes as such incidents have allegedly intensified this week, with nearly 80 more schools reportedly being targeted by gas attacks on Sunday – the same day that Ali Pour-Tabatabaie, a journalist following the news in the religious city of Qom, was arrested, according to local reformist outlets.[2]
    • On Saturday, the start of Iran's five-day work and school week, dozens of schools across ten provinces were also attacked, as CNN verified using video and witness testimony. As of last Wednesday, no one had been arrested in connection with the incidents.[3]
    • The widespread poisoning of more than 1K female students has reportedly been caused by a "mild poison," allegedly as part of an extremist response to women and girls leading role in nationwide protests that have rocked Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini in September.[4]
    • Iran's prosecutor general announced in mid-to-late February he would launch a criminal investigation into the apparent deliberate poisoning of schoolgirls since November. While no girls have died, dozens have suffered from respiratory issues, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue believed to be the result of toxic gas.[5]
    • Iranian women and girls have been at the front line of months-long, nationwide demonstrations in the country, which have been quelled by security forces. Activists claim that more than 520 people have been killed and over 19K have been detained.[6]


    Anti-Iran narrative

    While Iranian officials have described the poisoning as a deliberate criminal act, the Islamic Republic has failed to take action to protect Iranian girls and bring to justice those responsible. This alone would amount to dereliction of duty, but worse still, the fact that women and girls have been the target of the ongoing crackdowns brings the government's own possible role into question. The international community must hold an external investigation.

    Pro-Iran narrative

    By launching a criminal investigation into these disgraceful attacks against schoolgirls, the Islamic Republic of Iran has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging Iranian girls to study, work, and think in a safe environment in order to become protagonists of the nation's progress. It is nonsensical and malevolent to try to blame Tehran for such incidents.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Iran will cease to be an Islamic Republic by January 2036, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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