Iranian cleric claims Covid vaccine turns people gay
Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian ordered his nearly 210,000 followers on social media platform Telegram: "Don't go near those who have had the Covid vaccine. They have become homosexuals."
This is not the first time Tabrizian, who hails from the holy city of Qom, has spoken out against western medicine.
Last year, a video circulated of him burning a copy of Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, claiming that such books were "irrelevant" compared to "Islamic medicine".
Tabrizian's comments highlight the hostile environment that Iran's LGBT+ community face in the country.
"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," Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident told Israeli media.
"Actually, his goal of spreading nonsense is to try to scare people [out] of getting vaccinated," she continued.
Read more: Medics and martyrdom: Iran's dying doctors
Tabrizian has previously advised his followers to "drench some cotton in violet oil and apply onto your anus", as a way of protecting the body from Covid-19.
Medical professionals have not backed up Tabrizian's claims.
Homosexuality remains outlawed in Iran and is punishable by death.
WikiLeaks cables in 2008 revealed that between 4,000 and 6,000 gay and lesbian people have been executed by Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.