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Iran has caught the Internet dating bug big time, and the preferred app du jour is Telegram, an encrypted messaging service that has also become the favored medium for political campaigns.
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 would scribble his landline number on a piece of paper, look around to make sure the morality police were not watching, and pass the note to a young woman who had caught his eye.
Iranian software engineers have been quick to replicate American websites like and e-Harmony, showing photos and profiles of those seeking companionship.
The Iranian government has clearly been taken by surprise by this development, as it has by so many other aspects of Iran’s increasingly sophisticated modern culture.
Even 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 on their phones.
By then, however, most such sites were marketing themselves as “marriage websites” to avoid getting shut down.
Of course, the surest way to attract a following in the Islamic Republic is to label something immoral or against religious laws.
Much like the “chain” reformist newspapers during Mohammad Khatami’s presidency in the late 1990s and early 2000s—when one paper would be forced to shut down, another one would spring to life with a different name but the same agenda and editorial staff—a dating site may be blocked but a similar one will soon appear.
The situation has gotten so dire, from the government’s point of view, that it issued a statement two years ago announcing that dating websites were illegal.
With the increasing number of people gaining access to the Internet, the government’s cyber police have had trouble keeping up.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating