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Iranians Turn Away From So-Called 'Temporary Marriages'

A bridal shop in Tehran
A bridal shop in Tehran

Registration officials in Iran supect there has been an increase of late in the number of informal and "unregistered" relationships. People are experimenting more with Western-style affairs of the heart, in other words — "shacking up" rather than rushing into marriage.

And they're not even going through the bother of entering a "temporary marriage," a legal loophole that exists in Iran for lovers who don't necessarily plan to make it a long-term thing. Last year, there were just 168 such arrangements nationwide, Ahmad Tuiserkani, head of the state registration body, told the daily Arman-e Emrooz.

Temporary marriages, to put it bluntly, allow couples to have sex without violating religious or cultural norms. They often serve the needs of bachelors or widows with money problems, divorcees, or anyone unable or unwilling to marry for good. Some critics call it "legitimate" prostitution as it usually involves payment of money to the wife.

Now, it seems, Iranian couples are dispensing with even that formality, instead dating and sleeping together like people elsewhere. Tuiserkani claims that the average lifespan of a couple in Iran is now "less than three years" and that 60% of the people who do marry lack a university education.

Shahla Kazemipur, a lecturer at Tehran University, sees the trend as logical given other changes taking place in Iranian society. "As society moves toward modernization, the marriage age goes up," she told the news agency ISNA.

Whereas men and women married at around 25 and 20 respectively in 1979, Kazemipur observed that they now tended to marry — in the proper, non "temporary" sense — at the ages of 27.5 and 23.4.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Russian Orthodox Church Has A Kremlin Spy Network — And Now It's Spreading Abroad

The Russian Orthodox Church has long supported Russia’s ongoing war effort in Ukraine. Now, clergy members in other countries are suspected of collaborating with and recruiting for Russian security forces.

Photo of Russian soldiers during mass at an Orthodox church in Moscow.

Russian soldiers during mass at an Orthodox church in Moscow.

Wiktoria Bielaszyn

WARSAW — Several countries have accused members of the Russian Orthodox clergy of collaborating with Russian security services, pushing Kremlin policy inside the church and even recruiting spies from within.

On Sept. 21, Bulgaria deported Russian Archimandrite Vassian, guardian of the Orthodox parish in Sofia, along with two Belarusian priests. In a press release, the Bulgarian national security agency says that clergy were deported because they posed a threat to national security. "The measures were taken due to their actions against the security and interests of the Republic of Bulgaria," Bulgarian authorities wrote in a statement, according to Radio Svoboda.

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These reports were also confirmed by Russia's ambassador to Bulgaria, Eleonora Mitrofanova, who told Russian state news agency TASS that the priests must leave Bulgaria within 24 hours. “After being declared persona non grata, Wassian and the other two clerics were taken home under police supervision to pack up their belongings. Then they will be taken to the border with Serbia" she said.

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