US says Iran poisoning probe may fall within UN mandate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Monday that an investigation into the recent poisoning of schoolgirls in protest-ridden Iran may fall within the United Nations mandate.
Several hundred cases of gas poisoning have been reported in more than 52 schools across Iran since late November, according to an official tally.
The cases come more than five months after the start of the protests, described as riots by Tehran, which were sparked by the death of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly breaking the dress code country strict for women.
“If these poisonings are linked to participation in protests, then it is well within the mandate of the UN’s independent international fact-finding mission on Iran to investigate,” the spokeswoman said. the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, referring to the body created in November to investigate rights violations in Iran.
“There must be a credible independent investigation, the accountability of those responsible,” she told her daily press conference, condemning the poisonings as “unacceptable”.
For more than three months, hundreds of female students have reported suffering from symptoms including shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness after detecting “unpleasant” or “unfamiliar” smells, with some girls being hospitalized.
The spate of incidents has sparked fear among parents and called on authorities to act, with Deputy Health Minister Younes Panahi recently saying the alleged attacks were aimed at shutting down girls’ education.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that the perpetrators should be “severely punished”, according to his website.
Iranian officials have so far announced no arrests.


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