Iran Launches Islamic Dating App in Bid to Boost Birthrate

Iranian authorities have launched an Islamic matchmaking app for smart phones in their latest push to boost marriage and birth rates at a time of economic hardship.

Hamdam, or Companion, is the first officially licensed Iranian app for those seeking a spouse or marriage counseling, according to Komeil Khojasteh, the manager of Tebyan Cultural Institute that developed the application, the Tasnim news agency reported. Tebyan is run by an organization that answers directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In March, Iran’s parliament passed budgetary provisions incentivizing childbirth and marriage, including loans to young married couples and first-time homeowners with children. That’s a goal Khamenei has promoted, and the country’s president-elect, hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, has pledged to build on and expand.

“Authorities probably opened their eyes to global trends and realized that they need to have a matchmaking app of their own, but tuned to Islamic standards,” said Mehdi, a single, 33-year-old PhD candidate in economics from Tehran who didn’t give his surname in order to speak to foreign media.

Hamdam strictly caters to those seeking a spouse in accordance with the country’s Islamic laws. Foreign dating apps such as Tinder are banned in the Islamic Republic, where divorce rates have been rising and birthrates have been in decline for several years.

In 2020, birth rates fell to a 100-year low, while the number of new marriages recorded since 2015 has been dropping at an average annual rate of 7.67%, according to government data.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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