Iran blamed steamy Turkish dramas for rising divorce rates in the country, saying that the TV shows have eroded the taboos surrounding divorce and have “destabilized the institution of family.”
According to The Sunday Times, Iran has the fourth-highest divorce rate in the world. In 2013 alone, the British newspaper said, Tehran saw a rise of 6% in couples who decided to call it quits.
Turkish soap operas, which have a reputation for dealing with risqué topics such as adultery, love triangles and premarital sex, are hugely popular with Iranian women who watch them via illegal satellite dishes.
“According to statistics, people watch four hours of television a day, whereas verbal contact between spouses is just 17 minutes a day,” the Times quoted Ahmad Mahmoudi, an official from the city of Kerman, as saying.
Iran also admits that the economic crisis caused by international sanctions has had an effect on marriages.
Fatimah Shirazi, a divorce lawyer in Tehran, told the British newspaper: “Traditionally men make the money in Iran and they are struggling. Many of my cases this year are due to financial disputes and those which aren’t are about stress over money problems. Many men have become frustrated and impatient with their families. They fight over petty things.”
An Iranian woman cannot get a divorce without her husband’s permission, and so the wife is forced to prove his failure in fulfilling his marital duties. Reasons cited can include abuse, insanity, or impotence.