Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); March 2, 2023: In the last three months, there have a series of chemical attacks against at least 38 girls schools in 11 Iranian cities.
Iran Human Rights considers the attacks to be coordinated chemical terror attacks and given the strong probability that the perpetrators are close to the Islamic Republic’s security institutions, it calls for a strong and immediate response from the international community.
Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “The chemical attack on at least 38 girls’ schools shows the level of planning and coordination. The lack of appropriate and preventative action by the Islamic Republic authorities strengthens the hypothesis that the perpetrators of the attacks are directly or indirectly linked to state institutions under Ali Khamenei's command."
Referring to the history of the Islamic Republic's security institutions committing organised crimes, including serial murders of political opponents, he added: "The Islamic Republic has clearly shown that it doesn’t have the required competency to deal with this, so the international community must react in this regard. Lack of action by the international community can have disastrous consequences for Iranian girls."
The first case of pupils being poisoned was reported on November 30, at Noor Girls' School in Qom's Yazdanshahr neighbourhood. At least 18 children were poisoned in the attack.
Since then, attacks have been reported in at least 37 other schools in the cities of Qom, Tehran, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Boroujerd, Isfahan, Torbat Jam, Quchan, Vardanjan and Sari, the latest of which was reported on February 28.
For three months, Islamic Republic authorities have either remained silent or issued contradictory statements. Ahmad Vahidi, the Interior Minister who is himself a suspect in an international terrorism case, is one of the officials tasked with investigating the attacks. He has stated that the forces under his command have no leads in the case!
Instead, security forces have attacked concerned parents demanding answers. At least one family, the father of schoolgirl Fatemeh Rezaii-Talkhabi, 11, was forced to interview on camera to say his daughter had not died of poisoning. Considering the Islamic Republic's long history of obtaining forced confessions, the cause of her death is also considered suspicious. Her death must therefore be investigated by an international fact-finding mission regardless of official government investigation and results.
Statements and action by Islamic Republic officials demonstrate the lack of serious will to investigate the attacks. Assertive international action is therefore essential in keeping girls at school.