An Iranian couple walk in a park in Tehran, 2003. A major Iranian state-owned company has told its single employees to get married by this September or face losing their jobs.[File Photo/Agencies]
A major Iranian state-owned company has told its single employees to get married by September or face losing their jobs, the press reported on Tuesday.
"One of the economic entities in the south of the country has asked its single employees to start creating a family," the hardline Kayhan daily reported.
The paper did not mention the name of the company but the reformist Etemad newspaper said that the firm is the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone Company -- which covers Iran's giant gas and petrochemical facilities on the shores of the Gulf.
"Unfortunately some of our colleagues did not fulfil their commitments and are still single," Etemad quoted the company's directive as saying.
"As being married is one of the criteria of employment, we are announcing for the last time that all the female and male colleagues have until September 21 to go ahead with this important and moral religious duty."
The giant energy zone of refineries is located on Iran's southern coastal energy hub Assalouyeh where temperatures reach 50 Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer, hardly a place for families.
The workers are usually young males seeking to earn a good income and the decree appears aimed at making them marry to ensure theyeschew sexual temptations during their stay away from home.
Sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal in Iran -- for the most part a traditional society where young people normally are encouraged by their families to marry in their 20s and swiftly bear children.
Around 12 million Iranians are umarried and aged between 15-29 but there were only 840,000 marriages last year, according to the head of Iran's youth organisation Ali Akbari.
In a similar warning, the governor of the eastern province of North Khorasan has said only married civil servants will be allowed to take up official posts in the region.
"Officials who are single must marry before being authorized to take up their posts," the student ISNA news agency quoted Mohammad Hossein Jahanbakhsh as saying.
"A mayor can only take up their responsibilities in a town in the region if they are married," he added.