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This article first appeared on the Atlantic Council site. Arranged marriages are far from the main means through which nuptials take place in Iran. Long gone, too, are the days when a nervous young man in his early to mid-twenties iranian dating and marriage scribble his landline number on a piece of paper, dtaing around to make sure the morality police were not watching, and pass the note to a young woman who had caught his eye. Iran has caught the Internet iranian dating and marriage bug big time, and the preferred app marfiage jour is Telegram, an encrypted messaging service that has also become the favored medium for political campaigns.
During recent parliamentary elections, former president Mohammad Khatami used Telegram to urge Iranians to vote for a so-called List of Hope. Daily Emails and Alerts - Get the best of Newsweek delivered to marraige inbox. Not long ago, young men and women would ride around in cars marrisge night and cruise for possible assignations. At first, the service was so slow that this writer remembers dialing up and going to the kitchen to put on a kettle for tea while waiting for the inbox to appear.
Those who used the Internet on a regular basis were so far and few between that its future seemed sketchy at best. Then broadband appeared and iranian dating and marriage speeds improved. iranain tech entrepreneur Chris Schroeder, nearly 65 percent of Iranian homes have broadband access, nearly the same percentage iranian dating and marriage in the United States.
Iganian more significant has been the introduction and proliferation of cellphones with 3G service. Schroeder estimates that 20 million Iranians now have access to 3G data iraniah their phones. Iranian software engineers have been irsnian to replicate American websites like Match. Already occupied filtering out dissident and pornographic websites, now the authorities have to watch for datng designated for dating that charge different membership fees for never-married people, divorcees and widows and widowers.
Iranian dating and marriage course, the surest way to attract a following in the Islamic Republic is iranan label something immoral or against religious laws. Almost instantaneously, people find ways to overcome the obstacles to access these forbidden sites. Defeating the tech-savvy crowd has proved to be difficult for the government, which has resorted to entreaties to young Iranians to appreciate the forgotten value of marriage and to threaten punishment to iranian dating and marriage who go on line in search of temporary hook ups.
There has been a significant decline in nuptials, with a growing number of Iranian men and women not interested in iranian dating and marriage families and an increasing number of couples cohabiting without getting married—what is known as white marriage. Seven months after the site was established in Junethe government declared that over 16, people had registered on the nad and that there had been marriages.
However, most of those who signed up were religious or conservative and would have gone down a route similar to irsnian an arranged marriage, except that they could now brag about how virtually cool their initial encounter had been. The hottest digital method for dating in Iran is currently the Telegram application. Many of these channels are not really for marriage and are hanging by a thread for fear of being uncovered by the authorities.
In the end, the government may choose to launch a marital website of its own on Telegram datint whatever the next popular app turns out to be on the theory that if you can't beat them, join them. An Iranian bride waits for her groom during a mass wedding ceremony at the country's grand hall in Iran's Interior ministry building in central Tehran August 19, Daily Emails and Alerts - Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox Now young Iranians are using the app to find companions for a night, or a lifetime.
Then came the Internet.