DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s supreme chief stated Monday that if a collection of suspected poisonings at ladies’ colleges are confirmed to be deliberate the culprits must be sentenced to loss of life for committing an “unforgivable crime.”

It was the primary time Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the ultimate say on all issues of state, has spoken publicly in regards to the suspected poisonings, which started late final 12 months and have sickened a whole lot of kids.

Iranian officers solely acknowledged them in current weeks and have supplied no particulars on who could also be behind the assaults or what chemical compounds — if any — have been used. In contrast to neighboring Afghanistan, Iran has no historical past of non secular extremists concentrating on ladies’s training.

“If the poisoning of scholars is confirmed, these behind this crime must be sentenced to capital punishment and there might be no amnesty for them,” Khamenei stated, based on the state-run IRNA information company.

Authorities have acknowledged suspected assaults at greater than 50 colleges throughout 21 of Iran’s 30 provinces since November.

Iran’s Inside Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated over the weekend that “suspicious samples” had been gathered by investigators, with out elaborating. He referred to as on the general public to stay calm and accused unnamed enemies of inciting worry to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Vahidi stated at the least 52 colleges had been affected by suspected poisonings, whereas Iranian media experiences have put the variety of colleges at over 60. Not less than one boy’s college reportedly has been affected.

Movies of upset mother and father and schoolgirls in emergency rooms with IVs of their arms have flooded social media.

Iran has imposed stringent restrictions on impartial media because the outbreak of nationwide protests in September, making it troublesome to find out the character and scope of the suspected poisonings.

The protests have been sparked by the loss of life of a younger girl who had been detained by morality police for allegedly violating the nation’s strict gown code. Non secular hard-liners in Iran have been recognized to assault ladies they understand as dressing immodestly in public. However even on the peak of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, ladies and ladies continued attending colleges and universities.

The youngsters affected within the poisonings have reportedly complained of complications, coronary heart palpitations, feeling torpid or in any other case unable to maneuver. Some described smelling tangerines, chlorine or cleansing brokers.

Studies counsel at the least 400 schoolchildren have fallen unwell since November. Vahidi, the inside minister, stated in his assertion that two ladies stay in hospital due to underlying persistent situations. There have been no reported fatalities.

As extra assaults have been reported Sunday, movies have been posted on social media exhibiting kids complaining about ache within the legs, stomach and dizziness. State media have primarily referred to those as “hysteric reactions.”

The World Well being Group documented an analogous phenomenon in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012, when a whole lot of women throughout the nation complained of unusual smells and poisoning. No proof was discovered to assist the suspicions, and the WHO stated it seemed to be “mass psychogenic sicknesses.”

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