An Iranian cleric with a huge social media following has reportedly warned the believers about interacting with those who receive Covid-19 vaccination. According to the cleric, those who receive covid-19 vaccines would become homosexuals.
"Don't go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals," Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian wrote on his Telegram account, the Jerusalem Post has reported.
The report says that the radical preacher has 210,000 followers on his Telegram account. It also says that the cleric had made remarks against Western medicines earlier as well.
"Ayatollah Tabrizian combines scientific ignorance with a crude appeal to homophobia. He's demonizing both the vaccination program and LGBT+ people, without a shred of evidence. By seeking to scare the public into not getting vaccinated against Covid-19, he is fueling the pandemic and putting lives at risk. Typical of many Iranian religious and political leaders, his bizarre, irrational claims scapegoat LGBTs and put theological prejudice before scientific knowledge," said Peter Tatchell, the LGBTQ+ and human rights campaigner.
The Iranian leadership has been edgy over the use of American-made vaccines, and the country has not yet started the vaccination drive despite undergoing a fourth round of Covid-19 infection in the country.
Vaccination to Start This Week
However, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that the country, which had seen a deadly wave of coronavirus infection last year, will start vaccination this week. Tehran confirmed that it has received the first shipment of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.
Tehran plans to vaccinate all of the 80 million people in the country in the eight months.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has enforced a ban on using vaccines made in the US and UK and France, the global leaders in vaccine research. "I really do not trust .. Sometimes they want to test. I am not optimistic (about) France either," Khamenei said.
However, a few Iranian research institutes have made progress in the development of a home-grown vaccine. Development of a home-grown vaccine is crucial for Iran given the widespread skepticism among the people. Iran's Revolutionary Guard had taken a stern stance against all foreign-made vaccines. The Guard commander Mohammad Reza Naghdi had said he does not recommend the injection of any foreign vaccine based on genetic material known as messenger RNA.