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Surprising Science

To Fix Iran’s Marriage Crisis, Legalize Online Matchmaking

A number of different factors are involved in the decrease of marriage among Iranians, and some are calling for potentially radical solutions.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

A government minister in Iran has proposed that the country legalize Islamically-suitable matchmaking Web sites, similar to and eHarmony, that will encourage people to get married at younger ages. Some Web sites are available for those who can get around the government’s blocking technology, but they’re primarily designed for people who are looking for sex partners rather than spouses. In a response that illuminates the changing mores of the country, one man says that he can have sex free of charge after a couple of good dates: “Why should I bother myself to marry a girl?”

What’s the Big Idea?

Legalizing Web sites for the marriage-minded is the latest recommendation provided to address the fact that, since the 1979 revolution, more Iranians are delaying marriage. “Young single people are a headache for authorities trying to maintain a religious state, who fear that the longer young adults are single, the more likely they are to indulge in premarital sex or other perceived vices.” Most experts doubt that Web sites will reverse the trend, since many other factors are involved, most notably the ability to support a family in a country that’s affected by international sanctions. According to one professor, “The cost of living is putting much more pressure on young people than the cost of marriage.”

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