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The majority of Iranians—almost all of those who own smartphones and/or tablets—download and use Telegram on a regular basis.
There are several Telegram groups, which have labeled themselves as facilitating introductions for marriage and ask for payment, starting at a month, to enter the chat room with a designated, supposedly compatible spouse-to-be, defined by questionnaires and prior vetting.
Schroeder estimates that 20 million Iranians now have access to 3G data on their phones.
The situation has gotten so dire, from the government’s point of view, that it issued a statement two years ago announcing that dating websites were illegal.
By then, however, most such sites were marketing themselves as “marriage websites” to avoid getting shut down.
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.