A cleric in the Iranian regime told his followers that the COVID-19 vaccination turns people into “homosexuals,” which is punishable by death in Iran.
Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian made the outrageous claims Tuesday on the social media platform Telegram, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine,” the radical Islamist wrote to his nearly 210,000 followers. “They have become homosexuals.”
Tabrizian, who lives in the religious capital of Qom and whose followers refer to him as ayatollah, has a history of promoting bigotry and false information about Western medicine.
Last year, the totalitarian burned “Harrison’s Manual of Medicine” in a videotaped ceremony, claiming that “Islamic medicine” had made such books “irrelevant,” according to Radio Farda, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcast service.
“Like other clerics in the regime, also Tabrizian relates all the shortages [shortcomings] to sexuality,” Iranian dissident Sheina Vojoudi told the Jerusalem Post.
“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.”
A prominent gay rights advocate told the Israeli paper that the scare tactics of many Iranian religious and political leaders often combine ignorance and hatred.
“He’s demonizing both the vaccination program and LGBT+ people without a shred of evidence,” Peter Tatchell reportedly said.
“By seeking to scare the public into not getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he is fueling the pandemic and putting lives at risk,” Tatchell added.
Same-sex sexual activity is punishable by execution in Iran, and thousands of gay people have been put to death since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, according to the Israeli paper.
In 2019, an Iranian foreign minister defended those atrocities to Germany’s public broadcasting network.
“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,” Mohammed Javad Zarif told Deutsche Welle.
In 2018 and 2019, Iran executed at least nine children, as the US ratcheted up sanctions after accusing the country of violating a 2015 nuclear deal.