Iran’s new online dating service launched on June 15th with the promise of solving the country’s “marriage crisis.” The site is part of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s push to grow the Iranian population to 150 million by 2050, and reduce the number of single young adults — currently 11 million. At the launch ceremony, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Mahmud Golzari said, “There are many people who are single, and when that happens it means no family, no children.” Some Iranians, however, are questioning the site’s intentions. “The website asks about family background, it asks whether you like satellite television channels and whether you want to live abroad in the future. It asks about applicants political views … Where is the guarantee that applicants’ personal information would not be passed on to security services?” one commenter named “Freeman” wondered on the Radio Free Europe website. Other questions on the dating site ask users which Ayatollah they follow, causing one anonymous commenter to remark, “It seems like the mullahs want to use this site to put people under the microscope.” Many are wary of the site due to the government’s control over the media, and are skeptical of the site’s reported network of matchmakers which includes doctors, mullahs and teachers who review profiles to set up matches. Some say they won’t be using the site, and that issues such as “unemployment, economic troubles, and the rising cost of living have forced many Iranians to postpone marriage.” One commenter named Ali reportedly said, “All young adults like to get married. They are capable of finding a suitable partner. But they have economic hardships standing in the way.”
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