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Iranian workers: Get married or get a new job

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images As if the recent crackdowns on “un-Islamic” behavior by President Ahmadinejad’s “morality police” weren’t enough, some Iranians now face unemployment if they don’t get hitched by this fall. Iran’s Etemad newspaper reported that the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone Company, a state-owned firm that runs petrochemical and gas facilities on the country’s ...

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ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

As if the recent crackdowns on “un-Islamic” behavior by President Ahmadinejad’s “morality police” weren’t enough, some Iranians now face unemployment if they don’t get hitched by this fall.

Iran’s Etemad newspaper reported that the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone Company, a state-owned firm that runs petrochemical and gas facilities on the country’s Gulf coast, announced it will fire any single employees who do not get married by September 21. The company’s directive reportedly called marriage an “important and moral religious duty” that some of his “colleagues” had failed to fufill. The Mail and Guardian speculates that the order is intended to prevent the company’s many young male employees from sexual dilentantism with local prostitutes (and from breaking the law — sexual relations outside of marriage are a crime in Iran).

But the marriage mandate is just one more authoritarian burden on a society that in several ways is a socially progressive bastion in the Middle East. The number of Iranian bloggers, for instance, continues to grow, despite the government’s crackdown on anti-regime content. Iran is also reportedly installing vending machines in Tehran that will distribute condoms and needles to curb the spread of hepititis and HIV.

In any case, best of luck to Pars’ single employees. Finding a spouse in three months is quite a tall order, particularly in the 120-degree summer heat of southern Iran.

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