Intelligence bodies investigating contaminated cakes: health minister

December 15, 2019 - 19:43

TEHRAN – Health Minister Saeed Namaki has said Iran’s intelligence bodies are investigating the case of contaminated cakes.

“This is a security issue and the Health Ministry along with security and intelligence bodies are investigating this issue,” Namaki said on Sunday, Mehr reported.

“A group took systematic actions to manipulate public opinion and cripple the country’s food industry, especially the cake and chocolate industry,” he said.

“Fortunately, no poisoning or side effect has been reported after consumption of these contaminated cakes,” the minister added.

Recently, photos circulated on the internet showing pills inserted in confectionery products such as cakes, biscuits and wafers.

At least 12 Iranian confectionery brands were affected.

Contaminated products were found in eastern provinces of Kerman, Hormozgan, and Sistan-Baluchestan as well as the western Ilam province, which borders Iraq.

Iran’s Food and Drug Organization spokesperson, Kianoush Jahanpour, said on Saturday the country’s food industry was targeted in a bid to spread “terror.”

“It’s the standing of the whole food and confectionery industry that has been targeted as one of the country’s excelling industries,” Jahanpour said, according to IFP news.

He added the drugs had “not undergone any changes in their color and composition, signaling that the drugs were placed in various packages after production and during distribution stages.”

No narcotics or rumored aluminum phosphide tablets have been found inserted in any of the products, the spokesperson explained.

“Most of the examined drugs have been household drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cetirizine, hydroxyzine, metoclopramide and even empty blister packs.”

The development comes 19 months after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and targeted the Iranian nation with its “maximum pressure” policy, which includes harsh sanctions, widespread propaganda, and possible acts of sabotage, among other things.

Tehran has repeatedly said that the U.S. sanctions will prevent it from buying medicine.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last month that the United States’ sanctions and economic war on Iran have targeted the ordinary people’s health and livelihood.

“There was a time when such warfare was used to simply limit the activities of some countries. However, new warfare of the United States and what Trump has called the ‘economic war’ have targeted the ordinary people’s livelihood and health,” the chief diplomat lamented.

Earlier this month, Zarif mentioned U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a tweet, saying, “@SecPompeo once again admits that US #EconomicTerrorism on Iran is designed to starve, and in the case of medical supplies, kill our innocent citizens.”

“#EconomicTerrorism kills,” he tweeted.