Iran’s mysterious student poisonings may have psychogenic origin: Experts
A new article has raised speculations about the psychogenic origin of the mysterious serial poisonings in Iranian school, saying reports on the incidents should be viewed with caution.
The article written by American medical sociologist Robert Bartholomew and published Saturday in Psychology Today magazine drew a parallel between the poisonings in Iran and those recorded in Afghanistan and occupied Palestinian lands in 2009-2016 and 1983, respectively.
Different studies on poisonings in Afghanistan concluded that the affected girls were suffering from “mass psychogenic illness,” the article read, adding that they “were attending schools in defiance of the Taliban, stoking fears of reprisals.”
Nearly all poisoned Afghan girls recovered quickly, and no toxin was ever identified in the air, water, or food, it further said.
The article also cited investigations that found psychological illness as the origin of the poisoning of nearly a thousand Palestinian schoolgirls in the West Bank in March-April 1983.
“In recent history, there have been several documented instances where incidents of apparent state terrorism turned out to be psychogenic in origin,” it continued.
Since November 2022, some Iranian students have been poisoned in schools. The outbreak started in Qom before expanding to other cities.
Most of the poisoned students have suffered respiratory problems, nausea, fatigue and dizziness, with some of them being hospitalized.
Anti-Iran media have been disseminating rumors and misinformation to fuel concern in the society, trying to depict the Islamic Republic as insecure and against women’s rights.
On Friday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi announced that he had asked the ministers of intelligence and interior to follow up on the poisoning cases.
“Through its hybrid war, the enemy sought to create despair among the people. And recently through its psychological war … the enemy sought to create stress and fear among students and parents so as to spark riots," the president said.