Following are excerpts from a TV program on Internet marriage in Iran. The English-language program was aired on Press TV on November 24, 2009.
Reporter: To prove his words about family, Jafar Ardabili has committed himself to the task of helping unmarried people find their partners. He runs an NGO called “Amin Family Consultation Center,” located in central Tehran. He has launched an Internet site since 2000, in a bid to provide an opportunity for singles to find matches, depending on their personal criteria, based on traditional values.
Jafar Ardabili: We do not want to ruin traditions, bur rather, we want to revive identities, using new methods and techniques available.
Reporter: Registration is conducted via the Internet, and almost 500 to 1,000 people register every day, among them even foreigners and Iranian expatriates. The big difference between Internet marriage Iranian-style, initiated by Jafar Ardabili, and that of the rest of the world, is that initial meetings between the girl and the boy take place under his supervision, in a safe atmosphere.
Unlike other types of Internet marriages, the Iranian style does not leave the couple on their own, after getting to know each other. When the two are invited over to the office for a face-to-face meeting, the couples would undergo character tests.
Jafar Ardabili: Our psychologist will have a meeting with them, so as to find out if they enjoy a matching character, or if they can reach that level of mutual understanding.
Reporter: Based on traditional procedures, in later stages, after the couple make up their minds, it is time for families to step in.
Young woman: Although this method is done through the Internet, and takes place in a modern way, and some may not even have a positive view about it, it really honors Iranian principles and values. The most important of all is the involvement of parents.
Reporter: This smiling cleric told me that none of the marriages brokered by the 15-member NGO have yet ended up in divorce, because they pay attention to details.
Jafar Ardabili: The most important part of this job is that both man and woman have equal rights to choose, and we do not have such differentiations for man and woman.
Reporter: Six of the Internet marriages are related to foreign spouses, with different nationalities. These people are still in touch with the center for post-marriage consultation.