State Media: Iran Accuses School Poisoning Suspects Linked to Foreign Media and Riots

Iran has arrested several people linked to a wave of school poisoning cases and accused some of the suspects of being linked to “dissident foreign-based media” and recent riots, according to an Interior Ministry statement shared by state media on Tuesday ( 7/3).

According to media and government officials, more than 1,000 girls have fallen ill after being poisoned since November, with some politicians blaming religious groups opposed to education for girls for being behind the cases.

“The three members of the team of four arrested had a history of being involved in the recent riots, and their links to dissident media based abroad have been confirmed,” the statement said, without elaborating.

The statement also added that authorities arrested several people in six provinces in connection with the school poisoning.

On Monday, Iran’s supreme leader said poisoning schoolgirls was an “unforgivable” crime that should be punished by death if they did it intentionally. The statement comes amidst a wave of public outrage over a series of poisoning incidents at the school.

The Interior Ministry said one of those arrested had spread the toxic substance to the school through his own child and had afterwards shared footage of the incident with what the government called “hostile media.”

The poisoning comes at a critical time for Iran’s clerical rulers after a security crackdown largely aimed at quelling a three-month nationwide protest movement. The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died on September 16 while in police custody for violating the headscarf rule. [my/rs]

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