"If the bride decides not to buy a wedding dress, her family insists that she must, otherwise relatives will gossip," said Paria Karimi, 28, who was shopping for a bridal gown in downtown Tehran.Amin Rafiei, a recently married 34-year-old civil engineer, said his family rented a wedding hall for ,000 and that he also had to buy gold jewelry for the bride."Our parents forced us to provide dinner, fruit, candy and beverages for 250 guests at the wedding party," he said.After several years of successful policies aimed at curbing population growth, Iran, with a population of 80 million, has begun encouraging young people to marry and have more children.
A woman walking openly in the streets with a man who is not related to her could easily attract the attention of police officials.
Nonetheless, young Iranians date furtively and have even found ways around firewalls that prevent computers from accessing dating sites.
detailed two dates he scheduled in Tehran using the dating app Tinder, which he notes was founded by two Iranian Americans.
“Even though on several occasions I’d been stopped by the patrolling moral guidance authorities who questioned my relationship with the woman I’d been walking with, in many other ways dating is no longer as complicated as it once was,” he writes, noting that his dates, while unsuccessful in finding him a wife, were possible under Sharia law and that young Iranians have a desire to use services like Tinder, where they can browse other singles and choose with whom they wish to speak.
The Associated Press reports the site, hamsan.tebyan.net, launched on Monday and is encouraging single people to subscribe.
“We have high demand for marriage and 11 million bachelors who are increasing every day,” said Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Mahmoud Golzari of the website, adding that it is “not a website for introducing boys and girls to each other.” Instead, the website will rely on a panel of “experts,” including religious scholars, doctors, and other professionals in each community, to sift through subscribers and match them for marriage.But an economic downturn fueled in part by international sanctions over Iran's disputed nuclear program has made it difficult for young couples to afford the cost of weddings and starting households.Families are expected to host lavish wedding ceremonies.This greatly increases the chance of an individual never marrying and alarm bells are ringing,” says Zohreh Hosseini, the website project manager at Tebyan.“The drop in marriage rates is one of the most important challenges facing the country today.At Tebyan, they have come up with a solution to prevent what they call sexual relations out of wedlock.