|Years:||I am 18|
|Tone of my iris:||I’ve got huge green eyes but I use colored contact lenses|
|I have tattoo:||None|
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 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.
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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. During recent parliamentary elections, former president Mohammad Khatami used Telegram to urge Iranians to vote for a so-called List of Hope.
Not long ago, young men and women would ride around in cars at night and cruise for possible asations.
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 download speeds improved. According to tech entrepreneur Chris Schroeder, nearly 65 percent of Iranian homes have broadband access, nearly the same percentage as in the United States. Even more ificant 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. Iranian software engineers have been quick to replicate American websites like Match.
Already occupied filtering out dissident and pornographic websites, now the authorities have to watch for sites deated for dating that charge different membership fees for never-married people, divorcees and widows and widowers. Of course, the surest way to attract a following in the Islamic Republic is to 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 those who go on line in search of temporary hook ups.
There has been a ificant decline in nuptials, with a growing of Iranian men and women not interested in starting families and an increasing of couples cohabitating 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 website and that there had been marriages.
However, most of those who ed up were religious or conservative and would have gone down a route similar to having an arranged marriage, except that they could now brag about how virtually cool their initial encounter had been.
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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. Mehrnaz Samimi is a journalist and simultaneous interpreter based in Washington, DC. On Twitter: MehrnazSamimi.
Home Issues Regions Search Menu. Now young Iranians are using the app to find companions for a night, or a lifetime. Then came the Internet.