Jafar Savalanpour, a 49-year-old cleric, started such a website in 2001.
His website publishes marriage candidates’ details, like their physical appearance and whether or not they've been married.
Whether you’re looking for love locally or internationally, we are committed to helping you find the perfect match, no matter where in the world they may be.
I was finally able to interview two people, both of whom agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity.
One chat room, geared toward "social and cultural communication and interaction," has scored the most number of long-term and serious relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual, according to its founder.
Neda says she arranges her outings before or after her classes at school, "so my mom thinks I'm spending time in the lab or have an extra class of some kind at the university." A few active chat rooms, which are closely monitored by the government, have serious rules and restrictions, and openly warn users about the round-the-clock presence of “designated observers” who, at times, may mediate conversations.
Interestingly enough, there are a couple of religion-driven websites that connect marriage candidates in more conservative ways.
Had we initially met in person, this would have been very unlikely." But, most young, tech-savvy Iranians who have found dates through chat rooms, continue to frequent these online spaces and enjoy chatting, even if it doesn't result in a real-life meeting or a serious relationship.
Match-making and dating websites are deemed illegal by the administration, so almost all the Iran-based websites for meeting people are chat rooms and not designated for match-making.
Fariba, 31, is a newly divorced attorney living in Tehran who, in a phone conversation, tells Al-Monitor she blames her divorce on online dating.
Fariba found her ex-husband in an Iranian chat room and met up with him after four chatting sessions.
Then, registered members request the website to find them a suitable partner based on their information. Such match-making websites are rare, however, and exist only because of their religious backing.
According to the Iranian Cyber Police, or FATA, a branch of the Iranian Disciplinary Force, such websites are illegal and the ones that do exist and are active, according to FATA's spokesman, “are operated by servers outside Iran and simply rip off users.” Reaching the managers of Iranian chat rooms proved to be a tough task.
These chat room administrators avoid trouble by simply offering guidance, as well as tips on how to be cautious and not allow others (generally men) to take advantage of you.