According to the Jerusalem Post, Tabrizian made the claims on messaging platform Telegram, where he has almost 210,000 followers.
Tabrizian wrote on the platform: “Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals.”
But his comments about the vaccine has been met with strong criticism from other Iranians including LBGT rights activists and health officials.
Prominent LGBTQ campaigner Peter Tatchell said the claims were ‘demonizing’ both the vaccine and the gay community.
“Ayatollah Tabrizian combines scientific ignorance with a crude appeal to homophobia. He is demonising 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 fuelling 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.”
Iranian dissident, Sheina Vojoudi said: “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. 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.”
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.
KanyiDaily recalls that a Nigerian Governor, Yahaya Bello, had also discouraged the use of COVID-19 vaccine, falsely stating that the jabs are meant to kill people.