Iran Reveals Islamic Dating App to Encourage Marriage

Iranian couples dating

An Iranian couple walks in a park in the capital Tehran on March 14, 2017. AFP FILE PHOTO

TEHRAN – Iran on Monday unveiled an Islamic dating application aimed at facilitating “lasting and informed marriage” for its youth, state television reported.

Called Hamdam – Farsi for “companion” – the service allows users to “search for and choose their spouse,” the television station said.

It is the only state-sanctioned platform of its kind in the Islamic Republic, according to Iran’s cyberspace police chief, Colonel Ali Mohammad Rajabi.

While dating apps are popular in Iran, Rajabi said all platforms other than Hamdam are illegal.

Developed by the Tebyan Cultural Institute, part of Iran’s Islamic Propaganda Organization, Hamdam’s website claims it uses “artificial intelligence” to find matches “only for bachelors seeking permanent marriage and a single spouse”.

Tebyan leader Komeil Khojasteh spoke at the unveiling, saying the family’s values ​​were threatened by external forces.

“Family is the devil’s goal, and (Iran’s enemies) are trying to impose their own ideas on it,” he said, adding that the app helps create “healthy” families.

According to Hamdam’s website, users must verify their identity and undergo a “psychology test” before searching.

When a match is taken, the app introduces “the families along with the presence of service consultants” who “accompany” the couple for four years after the marriage.

Registration is free as Hamdam has “an independent revenue model”, the website said without explaining further.

Iranian authorities, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned several times against the country’s rising marriage age and declining birth rate.

In March, Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament passed a bill entitled “Population growth and support for families.”

It requires the government to offer significant financial incentives for marriage and to encourage people to have more than two children, while restricting access to abortion.

The law is awaiting approval by the Guardian Council, which is tasked with verifying that bills are compatible with Islamic law and the Constitution.

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