(Tehran) Dozens of young girls were poisoned on Saturday in several schools across Iran, a country shaken for more than four months by a mysterious case of poisoning of schoolgirls, local media reported.

Since the end of November, many schools, mostly attended by girls, have been affected by sudden poisoning caused by gas or toxic substances, causing faintness and fainting, sometimes followed by hospitalization.

Quoted by state television on Friday, the head of the National Fact-Finding Commission in the case, MP Hamidreza Kazemi, said the body’s final report would be released “in two weeks”.

At least “60 students were poisoned (Saturday) in a girls’ school in Haftkel”, in the province of Khuzestan (southwest), the Iribnews news agency said, citing a local official.

Schoolgirls were also poisoned at “five schools in Ardabil, in the northwest”, where they showed “symptoms of anxiety, shortness of breath and headaches”, the same source added.

In Urmia, capital of West Azerbaijan province (northwest), “an unknown number” of primary school students were also affected “after a gas projection”, said the official. Ilna agency, without further details.

An official report from March 7 reported “more than 5,000 students” poisoned in more than 230 establishments located in 25 provinces, out of the 31 in the country. The intoxications had ceased in early March after the announcement of a hundred arrests and then resumed three weeks later.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on March 6 for “severe penalties”, including the death penalty, for those found responsible for the poisonings.

This case began two months after the start of the protest movement sparked in Iran by the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by the morality police who accused her of having violated the strict dress code imposing in particular on women the wearing of the veil.