Sunday, May 31, 2015

'White marriage' a growing trend for young couples in Iran...

Nina and Ahmad have lived happily together in their small one-bedroom apartment for years. They share the cost of groceries; they split the rent.

But in Iran, where Islamic teachings are woven into all aspects of life, theirs is a delicate - and illegal - arrangement: They are not married.

The pair is among a growing number of young couples in Iran who are living together without exchanging vows, a trend that the government says undermines the country's religious values.

Last year, the chief of staff to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called cohabitation "shameful."

"The Islamic ruler should strongly fight this kind of life," said Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, and officials should "show no mercy" in cracking down on the practice.

In April, the government shut down a women's magazine for dedicating a special report to cohabitation, a practice commonly referred to as "white marriage."

There are no official estimates on the number of unmarried couples cohabiting in Iran, where those who engage in sex, dating or even hand holding out of wedlock find themselves on the wrong side of the law. But officials such as Siyavash Shahrivar, deputy governor of greater Tehran, say that "white marriages" are on the increase. Full story...

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