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Teachers Protest Over Suspected Iran Schoolgirl Poisonings

This is a locator map for Iran with its capital, Tehran. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Iran with its capital, Tehran. (AP Photo)

Iranian teachers protested Tuesday over suspected poisonings targeting schoolgirls, as a prominent lawmaker and an activist group put the number of those reporting symptoms into the thousands across hundreds of schools.

The new figures dramatically escalate the ongoing crisis now gripping the highest levels of Iran’s theocracy, already under pressure after months of demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini in September.

Meanwhile, prosecutors started filing criminal charges against journalists, activists and others over their comments on the still-unsolved incidents that began in November. Officials also again announced arrests of unnamed suspects over the occurrences, with little detail, after withdrawing similar earlier claims.

These new incidents at schools, with new ones reported Tuesday, threaten to again stoke public anger as parents fear for their children’s safety. It remains unclear who may be behind the suspected attacks and what chemicals — if any — have been used.

“The poisonings are further forcing a domestic conversation along Iran’s deep social divides between religious conservative Iranians and more secular liberal Iranians,” risk-intelligence firm the RANE Network said in an analysis. “If the poisonings continue, they will become another trigger of disruptive unrest against the government, regardless of whether the government is actually behind them or not.”

Related Story: Islamic Republic Officials Set to Freeze Bank Accounts of Women Refusing to Wear a Hijab

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