Iran, 35 female students in hospital after inhaling toxic gas

They became intoxicated after inhaling toxic gas at Khayyam High School in Pardis, a city near Tehran. At least 35 Iranian students were taken to hospital after experiencing respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness and weakness. Episodes of this type have become systematic since poisoning of female students had also been reported in recent months in schools in other cities, including Qom, Ardebil, Boroujerd, Sari as well as in Tehran. Videos were also reportedly circulated on social media showing ambulances arriving at Pardis high school to rescue female students. Last week similar episodes also occurred in the provinces of Lorestan and Boroujerd. The schools where the poisonings have been reported have been closed.

Poisoning episodes since November

The first episodes of toxic gas poisoning at school already occurred last November. At least 400 girls were poisoned in Qom, a city south of Tehran, while more than 135 were taken to hospital in three different schools in the western province of Boroujerd. The girls suffered from breathing problems, nausea, dizziness and weakness. Mohammadtaghi Fazel-Meibodi, a lecturer at the Qom seminary, told the reformist daily Shargh that according to some unconfirmed reports, an extremist religious group called Hazarehgera, which has offices not only in Qom but also in Isfahan, is likely responsible for the incidents because she believes girls should not be educated. According to complaints by activists on social media, the students are victims of revenge because of the anti-government protests in schools that have taken place since September after the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old of Kurdish origin who lost her life after being placed in custody because she was not wearing the veil correctly.