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More unmarried couples living together in Iran

Younger Iranians are beginning to break old taboos by cohabitating without marriage.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.
A couple holds hands while walking on the beach of Kish Island, 1,250 kilometers (777 miles) south of Tehran April 26, 2011 . REUTERS/Caren Firouz (IRAN - Tags: SOCIETY TRAVEL) - RTR2LMWP
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A rather new element of Iran’s paradoxical society is visible in some homes: cohabitation of unmarried couples. A small group of young and a smaller group of elder avant-garde intellectuals and artists had chosen this lifestyle in the past 30 years, but according to Iranian officials, it is on the rise. 

Couples living together without being married is still quite uncommon, and in some circles even unheard of, particularly for the traditional and religious types who would deem this lifestyle unacceptable. However, that this trend has caused authorities to speak out against it is an indication that it is a serious issue for a country that espouses traditional Islamic values and is facing a declining birth rate.

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