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University Students Protest In Tehran After 200 Fall Victim To Food Poisoning


Students on the campus of University of Science and Technology in Tehran. File photo

More than 200 students at the University of Science and Technology in Tehran have been taken to the hospital for food poisoning at the university's canteen since Tuesday October 15, Iranian media reported.

The students have staged a sit-in in front of the University in protest to the situation, the reports said.

A student union official told the semi-official news agency ISNA late Wednesday that the Union has called on officials to present a report on the situation within a week, "otherwise, protest gatherings will continue." This means that the gatherings have been suspended for the time being.

Reports by university officials put the number of those poisoned at 70 but a student leader has told ISNA that at least 197 students including 87 girls have been sent to hospital over that past two days.

The student union leader added there may be more female students affected by the situation, but dormitory officials do not allow anyone to leave the dorm after dark even for medical treatment.

There is still no report about the cause of the contamination at the canteen, but university officials have promised to deal with those responsible.

Reports on Wednesday said ambulances were rushing to the men’s dormitory where a large number of students fell ill as a result of food poisoning, and that a medical emergency post has been set up at the dormitory.

At least 20 students are said to be in critical condition at the hospitals in Tehran, said ISNA on Wednesday. This comes while the university's Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ahmad Qaemi claimed Wednesday evening that "the only student at the hospital" would be discharged the next day.

Another university official says samples of food and raw material from the canteen have been sent to a laboratory for further investigation.

The union official told ISNA that this was the 7th or 8th case of food poisoning at the canteen. He said an official from the university has apologized to the students, but the contractor that maintains the canteen has not be changed regardless of the flaws in the situation of food hygiene at the university.

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