Iran official in charge of ‘promoting Islamic values’ suspended over alleged gay sex video

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An official in Iran in charge of “promoting Islamic values” has reportedly been suspended over an alleged gay sex video. 

Reza Tsaghati, head of culture and Islamic guidance in Gilan province, was reportedly seen having sex with another man in a video posted online, however the video’s authenticity, and the identities of those in the video, have not been verified, The BBC reported.

Tsaghati has been suspended from his position – which reportedly promotes piety and advocates for women wearing the hijab – while authorities investigate.

The chief editor of Radio Gilan Telegram, who originally uploaded the video, said the channel would continue to expose “corruption among regime officials”.

The cultural and Islamic guidance department of Gilan issued a statement on 22 July, citing a “suspected misstep of the director of Islamic guidance in Gilan”.

The department added that the incident had been “referred for careful consideration to the judicial authorities”.

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Iran’s minister for culture, Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili, claimed no complaints relating to Tsaghati had been reported before the alleged sex tape was posted online.

Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, with some LGBTQ+ people sentenced to death due to their sexuality. LGBTQ+ people throughout the country are at risk of harassment, abuse, and violence. 

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As part of the World Values Survey, a poll found that more than 90 per cent of people in Iran believe homosexuality is wrong.

The equality metric calculator Equadex gave the country an equality score of just six out of 100.

In March, Elham Choubdar, a woman who was sentenced to death in Iran on charges of “promoting homosexuality” was released from custody.

The LGBTQ+ activist, who was arrested on charges of “corruption on Earth” for “promoting homosexuality” and “depravity”, along with “promoting Christianity”, was released on 13 March after her bail was paid. 

A spokesperson from the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network told PinkNews at the time that her death sentence was overturned thanks to “tireless efforts” by the LGBTQ+ community.

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