It’s one thing to have your friends and family set you up on a date. It’s another to have the state government set you up on a date. That’s exactly what Iran’s new state-approved dating app will do, reported The Washington Post.

  • The new dating app is called Hamdam, meaning “companion” in Farsi, per the BBC.
  • The app will help single people find the right partner for a “sustainable marriage,” reported The Associated Press.

The Iranian government unveiled the new “Iranian Tinder” this week, says Haaretz.

How does Iran’s state-sponsored dating app work?

Created by the Tebyan Cultural Institute, a part of Iran’s Islamic Development Organization, Hamdam is the only legal dating app in Iran. Although people may — and do — use other dating apps, these apps are considered illegal, reported The Guardian.

But Hamdam is not like other dating apps.

  • On Hamdam, all individuals must complete a “psychology test” to join the app, per The Guardian.
  • The app does not use photographs. According to the website’s FAQs via The Washington Post, “We have experienced many times in matching that the photo was not a good reason to reject or accept anyone.”
  • Instead of giving users a wide range of options, the app uses AI to match people with their best options then directs users to meet face-to-face. “What is achieved in a face-to-face meeting is much more complete than a soulless photograph,” said the website’s FAQ per The Washington Post.
  • When a match meets, the app “introduces the families together with the presence of service consultants.”
  • These “service consultants” will then “accompany” the couple for four years after marriage, per The Independent.

Hamdam ensures that couples are meeting and dating according to the country’s Islamic law, reported The Independent. The app allows users to “search and choose their spouse” while facilitating “lasting and informed marriage,” per Al Jazeera.

Why did the Iranian government make a dating app?

Hamdam is part of the Iranian government’s official push to promote marriage and population growth. The country has seen population rates fall in recent years as marriage rates have declined and divorce rates have increased, reported The Washington Post.

  • In 2020, Iran’s birth rate fell to a 100-year low, per The Independent.
  • Some people in Iran see the recent marriage and divorce trends as resulting from Western influence, reported The Washington Post.

The effectiveness and popularity of the app have not yet been established.