An Iranian cleric has claimed that the Covid-19 vaccine turns people gay.
Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian made the claims on messaging platform Telegram, where he has almost 210,000 followers, The Jerusalem Post reported.
According to the publication, Tabrizian wrote on the platform: ‘Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals.’
Prominent LGBTQ campaigner Peter Tatchell said the claims were ‘demonizing’ both the vaccine and the gay community.
Ayatollah Tabrizian combines scientific ignorance with a crude appeal to homophobia,’ he said.
Iranian dissident Sheina Vojoudi said: ‘Like other clerics in the regime, also Tabrizian relates all the shortages [shortcomings] to sexuality.
‘The clerics in Iran are suffering from lack of knowledge and humanity. Actually, his goal of spreading nonsense is to try to scare people [out] of getting vaccinated, while the leader of the regime and other officials got Pfizer, and they don’t provide it for the people with the excuse that they don’t trust the West.’
The controversial figure has made several claims about Western medicine. In January last year, video was shared of him burning an American scientific textbook, claiming that Islamic medicine made such books ‘irrelevant’.
Homosexuality is punishable by execution in Iran.
It is thought that thousands of gays have been executed in the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In 2019, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle: ‘Our society has moral principles.
‘And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed,’