As if things weren’t going badly enough for the people of Iran when it comes to the pandemic. In one of those #HeadDesk moments, while reading the news we learn that a radical Iranian cleric with a very large following has told his people to not only avoid getting a vaccination but to stay away from those who have been vaccinated because the vaccine turns people gay. Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian began dispensing this medical and moral advice to his followers on social media. And the truly sad part is that you just know that at least some of them are going to believe him. Before you know it we’ll probably be seeing vaccinated people being thrown off of roofs. (Jerusalem Post)

An Iranian regime cleric in the holy city of Qom on Tuesday issued a homophobic rant against people vaccinated for COVID-19, claiming that they become gay after receiving the vaccine.

Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian wrote on his Telegram social-media platform: “Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals.”

The radical Islamist has nearly 210,000 followers on his Telegram account.

Iran is one of the nations that’s been hardest hit by the pandemic, largely for reasons of their own making. From the very beginning, Iranians weren’t getting much in the way of medical help, largely because corrupt Iranian officials were stealing huge amounts of the aid sent to their country and selling it on the black market. When addressing the issue of how the pandemic started, Iran’s leaders told their people that the Jews were to blame.

This insane idea about the vaccine turning people gay isn’t the first such conspiracy theory about alleged cures or vaccines to make the rounds in Iran, by the way. Iranians were dropping dead in large numbers last year from poisoning after people began spreading rumors that drinking wood alcohol would cure the disease. And Ali Khamenei himself later told his people that the United States was probably putting poison in the vaccines to kill off our enemies.

Of course, we can only do so much finger-pointing at the Iranians when you consider the number of conspiracy theories that have been hatched here at home. We had that one guy who intentionally destroyed hundreds of doses because he was telling people that the vaccines would not only mutate their DNA but also had microscopic tracking chips in them that the government would use to keep tabs on you.

Iran has one of the worst per capita COVID caseloads and death rates in the world. They almost certainly would have had to deal with the pandemic sooner or later just like everyone else, but a combination of official corruption and wild fearmongering has clearly made conditions worse for the people of that country.