More schoolgirls were hospitalised in several regions of Iran on Sunday in a suspected new wave of poisoning attacks, local media reported.
A number of schoolgirls were reported to have been poisoned in two secondary schools in Abhar and Ahvaz and in an elementary school in Zanjan, the ISNA news agency quoted local health officials as saying.
Cases of poisoning were also reported in the city of Mashhad, Shiraz and Isfahan, according to the Mehr and ILNA news agencies.
Hundreds of schoolgirls were reported to have been exposed to gas poisoning in dozens of schools over the past three months, according to official figures.
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In a statement published on Saturday evening, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi revealed the discovery of "suspicious samples" during "field research". He gave no further details.
On Friday, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi called on the interior and intelligence ministries to "thwart the enemy's plot aimed at spreading fear and despair among the population."
In response to a question by Fars News Agency, Deputy Interior Minister Majid Marahmadi accused "the perpetrators of schoolgirls' poisoning" of wanting to "close schools" and "blaming the regime" in order to "revive dormant riots", in reference to the women's rights protests which have been ongoing for six months.
Marahamdi claimed that a "small percentage" of the poisoning cases were caused by "deliberate actions", but a "large number" of the schoolgirls suffered from complications due to "anxiety and stress".
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