"My heart is burdened, and I have agony in my heart.
Someone should talk to me." She quickly attracted several male suitors, and in a while she had picked one, and they disappeared from the chat room -- apparently a match successfully made.
Faced with the seemingly implacable force of a conservative religious establishment, some Iranians like Kaveh have traded their rising hopes for democracy and freedom for more escapist pursuits, including Internet porn.
"We were cheated," said the 25-year-old Kaveh, a salesman for a wholesale plastics company.
"The reformists have done nothing." For solace, increasing numbers of Iranians have embraced the Internet -- up to 3.5 million since it arrived here four years ago -- but not always for high-minded reasons.
I HAVE BLACK HIRE AND EYES AND HIGHT 185 CM AND WIGHT 86 KG.
2003-11-16 PDT Esfahan, Iran -- Whiling away the hours in a tearoom nestled under a 4-century-old bridge on the Zayandeh River, drinking cup after cup of steaming tea and puffing on a water pipe, Kaveh and his friends think only about escaping. That's why officials are concerned, because it's dangerous." Orthodox pressure Ever since Mohammad Khatami, a reformist cleric, swept to the presidency in 1997 elections with overwhelming support from the nation's youth, his attempts to limit the power of unelected religious authorities have been repeatedly beaten back by orthodox bodies such as the Guardian Council.
"We hate the mullahs," he said, referring to the hard-line Shiite Muslim clergy who wield ultimate power in Iran. "We are in an increasingly polarized and divided society.
"Many people now are demotivated, and this political apathy is increasing dramatically," said Fazal Miboudi, a pro-reform mullah who is a professor of political science at Mofid University in Esfahan.
"Chat and pornography have driven the whole technology sector in Iran," said Massoud Bozorgi, CEO of Chavoosh IT Development Co., the largest Internet service provider in Esfahan. It's sad, but true." In a country where the morals police can arrest and whip an unmarried couple for holding hands in public, online flirting with the opposite sex is officially banned.
But enforcement of social strictures has loosened markedly in the past couple of years, and the police have rarely made such arrests.