on the hill

Lawmakers condemn lack of accountability for Iranian schoolgirl poisonings

Thousands of students have been poisoned in gas attacks that are believed to be deliberate

Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A young girl looks on as she holds an Iran National flag while standing next to veiled Iranian schoolgirls during a religious ceremony while visiting of the International holy Koran fair at the Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in downtown Tehran after Iftar in holy fasting month of Ramadan, April 7, 2023.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is calling out the Iranian government for failing to probe the poisonings of thousands of schoolgirls across Iran — in what experts believe to have been deliberate gas attacks — over the course of several months.

Twenty-three lawmakers introduced a resolution last week condemning the Iranian government over the issue and outlining steps to seek answers. Lawmakers also announced last week, in connection with the resolution, the formation of the Iranian Women Congressional Caucus.

The resolution outlines the role that the students and women more generally have played in leading protests in the wake of the September death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman in regime custody. The text echoes accusations by “angry parents” that the attacks are “‘targeted and deliberate’ to keep girls from getting an education,” accuses the regime of having “ignored the attacks for more than 100 days and has responded with blaming protestors for the gas attacks on schoolgirls” and outlines efforts by the regime to suppress information about the poisonings.

The resolution calls on the U.S. government to “initiate a formal process” to launch an independent investigation of the poisonings, including a United Nations fact-finding mission and a World Health Organization report to determine who is responsible for the attacks.

The resolution and the caucus are being led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Other co-sponsors include Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Deborah Ross (D-NC), John Curtis (R-UT), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Don Bacon (R-NE), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), Al Green (D-TX), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Troy Carter (D-LA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Mike Garcia (R-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA).

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