Local media in TEHRAN reported on Saturday that dozens of Iranian schoolgirls from five different provinces had been hospitalized due to an apparent poisoning.

There have been hundreds of cases of respiratory distress among schoolgirls in the past three months, mostly in the holy city of Qom south of Tehran. Some of these girls have required hospitalization.

Reports of the most recent poisoning incidents have come from the province of Hamedan in Iran’s west, as well as the provinces of Zanjan and West Azerbaijan in the country’s northwest, Fars in the south, and Alborz in the country’s north.

According to reports, dozens of students have been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, but everyone seems to be doing fine.
President Ebrahim Raisi called poisonings “the enemy’s conspiracy to create fear and despair in the people” on Friday, and he said he had asked the intelligence and interior ministers to investigate.

To “alleviate the concerns of the families and to hold perpetrators accountable,” as Nasser Kanani, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, put it, an investigation into the poisonings is “one of the immediate priorities of the government.”

Several media outlets are reporting that at least 10 girls’ schools were poisoned on Wednesday, including seven in the city of Ardabil in the country’s northwest and three in the capital of Tehran.

Younes Panahi, deputy health minister of Iran, stated last week that the poisonings were carried out with the intention of preventing girls from attending school.

More than five months into nationwide protests following the death in custody of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been arrested for alleged breach of strict dress rules for women, a string of poisonings has occurred.

Authorities in Tehran have called the demonstrations, or “riots,” and say they have resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.