In Iran, young men and women are not allowed to openly meet or flirt in the usual western contexts of bars or nightclubs. Instead, they turn to a rather unexpected matchmaking joint : their car.
One of the favourite pastimes of a segment of the upper and middle class Tehran youth is driving up and down street called Iranzamin, in the high-end Sa’adat Abad (Little Western Town) neighbourhood. To avoid censorship by the Islamic morality police, the cars are either all-girl or all-boy. Their passengers joke, flirt and exchange phone numbers through the car windows, ready to make a quick getaway if the police show up.
According to our Observer, these outings also allow drivers to show off their car: the more luxurious and expensive, the better. Shabby, run-down cars are not welcome on Iranzamin, where flashy Mercedes or SUVs will speed away if a lesser vehicle tries to approach them.
Due to pro-natalist policies by the Islamic regime in the 1980s, an estimated 70 percent of Iran’s current population of 70 million is under the age of 30. This generation is widely considered to be the driving force behind the anti-government 'Green Movement'.