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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Khamenei Says Culprits Should Face Death Over Suspected Schoolgirl Poisonings

Iran’s supreme leader said Monday, March 6, that if a series of suspected poisonings at girls’ schools proves to be deliberate, the culprits should be sentenced to death for committing an “unforgivable crime.”

It was the first time Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who has the final say on all matters of state — has spoken publicly about the suspected poisonings, which began late last year and have sickened hundreds of children.

Iranian officials only acknowledged them in recent weeks, and have provided no details on who may be behind the attacks or what chemicals — if any — have been used.

Unlike neighboring Afghanistan, Iran has no history of religious extremists targeting women’s education. “If the poisoning of students is proven, those behind this crime should be sentenced to capital punishment and there will be no amnesty for them,” Khamenei said, according to state-run media.

Authorities have acknowledged suspected attacks at more than 50 schools across 21 of Iran’s 30 provinces since November. At least 400 schoolchildren have fallen ill, but there have been no reported fatalities.

The children affected by the poisonings have reportedly complained of headaches, heart palpitations, feeling lethargic, or otherwise unable to move. Some described smelling tangerines, chlorine, or cleaning agents. (TOI / VFI News)

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