Iranian software engineers have been quick to replicate American websites like and e-Harmony, showing photos and profiles of those seeking companionship.The Iranian government has clearly been taken by surprise by this development, as it has by so many other aspects of Iran’s increasingly sophisticated modern culture.Then broadband appeared and download speeds improved.According to tech entrepreneur Chris Schroeder, nearly 65 percent of Iranian homes have broadband access, nearly the same percentage as in the United States.Or they would go to underground parties where the music was loud, the tequila flowed and the hosts had bribed the police to leave them alone so guests wouldn’t jump out of their skins at the sound of a doorbell. At first, the service was so slow that this writer remembers dialing up and going to the kitchen to put on a kettle for tea while waiting for the inbox to appear.Those who used the Internet on a regular basis were so far and few between that its future seemed sketchy at best.Iran has caught the Internet dating bug big time, and the preferred app du jour is Telegram, an encrypted messaging service that has also become the favored medium for political campaigns.During recent parliamentary elections, former president Mohammad Khatami used Telegram to urge Iranians to vote for a so-called List of Hope.
Not long ago, young men and women would ride around in cars at night and cruise for possible assignations.
Arranged marriages are far from the main means through which nuptials take place in Iran.
Long gone, too, are the days when a nervous young man in his early to mid-twenties would scribble his landline number on a piece of paper, look around to make sure the morality police were not watching, and pass the note to a young woman who had caught his eye.
Even more significant has been the introduction and proliferation of cellphones with 3G service.
Schroeder estimates that 20 million Iranians now have access to 3G data on their phones.With the increasing number of people gaining access to the Internet, the government’s cyber police have had trouble keeping up.