After the mysterious mass poisoning of schoolgirls in Iran, the government in Tehran reported more than a hundred arrests. More than 100 people "responsible" for the incidents in girls' schools "have been identified, arrested and are under investigation," the Interior Ministry said on Saturday evening, according to the state news agency IRNA.
Those arrested included people with "hostile motives," the ministry added. They would have pursued the goal of scaring people "and closing schools". Since the middle of last week, however, the number of incidents in schools has "fortunately" dropped significantly and there have been no more reports of sick schoolgirls.
Since the end of November, there have been repeated reports of mass poisonings at girls' schools in Iran. Thousands of schoolgirls suffered symptoms including nausea and shortness of breath after noticing "unpleasant" odors on school grounds. According to official figures, more than 5,000 schoolgirls in about 230 schools in 25 of the 31 Iranian provinces were affected.
The Iranian authorities suspect that the poisoning was an attempt to exclude girls from schooling. The backgrounds have not yet been clarified.
The Interior Ministry has now established a possible link to an Iranian exile opposition group in Albania. The People's Mujahideen of Iran, also known as the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), are classified as a terrorist organization by Iran. The Irna report said investigations into the suspects, including "their possible links to terrorist organizations such as the MEK," are ongoing.