Iran's ayatollah says poisoning schoolgirls is 'unforgivable crime' worthy of death

The scope of the suspected poisoning is difficult to fully determine due to media restrictions in Iran.

Updated: March 6, 2023 - 10:27am

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that if a string of suspected poisonings at girls' schools are found to be deliberate, the perpetrators should receive the death sentence for the "unforgivable crime."

"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, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Hundreds of children have been sickened in the suspected poisonings at more than 50 schools since late last year, according to The Associated Press. Women's education in Iran has not historically been targeted by religious extremists, unlike neighboring Afghani

Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said investigators had gathered "suspicious samples," but he did not elaborate further. 

The scope of the suspected poisoning is difficult to fully determine, as Iran imposed stringent restrictions on news outlets after protests broke out across the Islamic Republic in the fall.