Iran (MNN) — Investigators say more than 5,000 students in Iran have been affected by school poisonings since the peak of anti-government unrest last fall.
“In November, 18 schoolgirls in Qom were taken to a hospital. They were complaining of nausea, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, and even pain in their hands and legs,” Lana Silk with Transform Iran says.
Videos uploaded to the internet show mostly female students gasping for breath and choking. On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called for a “credible, independent investigation” into the incidents by the United Nations.
“They’re locking these girls in their classrooms and sending poisonous gases. Experts [have analyzed] these gases, and they’re saying these gases are weapons-grade,” Silk says.
“The government is trying very hard to whitewash it. But there’s no getting away from the fact that only those girls who stood up against the government were attacked.”
While human rights groups and activists blame the regime, the government blames protestors. “There are attempts by the government to make it sound random, but it’s not,” Silk says.
“We know that this is targeted. These are schools where girls actively participated in the protests, and [they have been turned] into the government.”
Nonetheless, hope remains. “People in Iran have recognized how dark the land is that they live in, and they are turning to light. They’re looking for it,” Silk says.
Transform Iran introduces people to Christ online. Learn more here.
“We’re sharing the Gospel through a whole range of media: internet, TV, radio, and of course, the digital church is there to welcome them in a way that [is] safe for them,” Silk says.
“Even though we offer anonymity, people are prepared to risk much to call and connect with us in a personal way because they are looking for hope in this darkness. And they’re finding it in Jesus.”
Header and story images courtesy of Transform Iran.