Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused his opponents to pandering to the gay vote, despite previously saying gays do not exist in his country.
Two years ago during a controversial World Leaders Forum, Ahmadinejad told students at Columbia University: “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals”.
However, the president, whose re-election has caused huge protest across the globe, yesterday disproved his own comment. In a statement referring to claims of electoral fraud, Ahmadinejad accused his opponents of “officially recognising thieves, homosexuals and scumbags” in exchange for their votes.
Responding to his statement, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “The old tyrant has let the cat of the bag. Gay people exist in Iran and they voted against him. Hurrah.”
Last night, a demonstation was held outside the Iranian embassy in London in solidarity with the Iranian calls for democracy and human rights.
Approximately 700 people, both gay and straight, attended the demonstration.
Tatchell said: “Although there were a few awkward looks, we received a mostly warm welcome from the predominantly straight Iranian protesters.
“Some thanked us for joining the demonstration; others specifically emphasised their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. It was a very positive move to have a visible gay presence at the rally. I think we generated considerable goodwill from many of those in attendance.”