The Iranian government has just closed down the popular Hamsarchat.net internet dating service, accusing it of “promoting prostitution.” The site advertised itself as a way to find a spouse.
Actually, the Iranian government has closed down internet dating services on other occasions in the past. In 2003, security forces arrested 68 young Iranians for actually going on dates that they had set up through the internet. Dating and love marriages, as opposed to arranged marriages, are still controversial in much of Asia, especially in rural and small town environments.
Some Iranian observers believe Iranian young people,and young women in particular, are undergoing a crisis with regard to intimate relationships. Some reports suggest that internet dating has allowed premarital relationships at younger and younger ages.
Youth who had begun enjoying greater personal freedoms before 2005 have seen the tide turn again toward greater puritanism under hard line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.