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Iranian Cleric: COVID-19 Vaccine Makes People Gay

Saturday February 13, 2021

An Iranian cleric has made an unfounded claim on social media that the COVID-19 vaccine makes people gay, Arab News reports.

On Telegram, Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian wrote to his nearly 21,000 followers, "don't go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals." His claim is not substantiated with any evidence whatsoever.

Tabrizian is known for his disdain of Western medicine, last year posting a video burning a copy of the authoritative Harrison's Manual of Medicine, which boasts Dr. Anthony Fauci as one of its co-editors. The cleric said Islamic medicine has made such books "irrelevant."

Iranian dissident Sheinab Vojoudi said, "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.

"Like other clerics in the regime, also Tabrizian relates all the shortages to sexuality. The clerics in Iran are suffering from lack of knowledge and humanity."

Iran has had approximately 1.47 million COVID-19 cases to date, with nearly 58.5k deaths, according to World Health Organization. On Tuesday, the country begins vaccinating frontline healthcare doctors and nurses who treat COVID-19 patients.

Historically, Iran unapologetically oppresses the LGBTQ community. Laws allow for LGBTQ people to be harassed, beaten, and even killed without repercussion for the perpetrators, Human Rights Watch reports.

Among many other examples, sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage are criminalized, with sodomy punishable by death; "lustful" kissing between two people of the same-sex receives 60 lashes, while two men "not related by blood... found naked under the same cover without any necessity" can be punished with up to 99 lashes As HRW notes, Iran is one of seven countries — including Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen — where consensual same-sex activities are punishable by execution.