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|Hoai Anh (middle) in her early days in Iran. (Photo: Vietnamnet)|
All started with a secret love
Do Lech Hoai Anh (28 years old - Ho Chi Minh City) has lived in Qazvin City (Iran) for 6 years. Out of curiosity about this country, she came here to study then met and fell in love with a foreign Muslim man.
Hoai Anh graduated from the Department of International Relations, Ho Chi Minh City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology in 2015. At that time, the Vietnam Embassy in Iran offered full scholarship programs at the University of Iran for 5 students. Hoai Anh, who thought she just registered "for fun", won the scholarship.
Hoai Anh went to Iran to study for a Master's degree in Persian Cultural Language, then got a degree in English - Persian translation. At first, Hoai Anh faced many difficulties because she did not know the language found it hard to adapt to strict cultural regulations. "Iranian culture is completely different from Vietnamese. At first, we came here in a group of 5 students, but by the second year, only me and another girl stay," Hoai Anh said.
During the trip with her friends, she met a man named Amir Hossein (31 years old, Iranian), the director of a travel company in Qazvin city (Iran). At the first meeting, Amir has a crush on the Vietnamese girl. In Iran, it is not conventional for men to ask for women's phone number when they first met, but he took the initiative to ask for Hoai Anh's number. Even after half a year of knowing each other, Amir never expressed his love. Hoai Anh then decided to "give him a test" by going hiking with one of her male friends, which then made Amir jealous and confessed his love to Hoai Anh.
|Hoai Anh and Amir. (Photo: Vietnamnet)|
“In a Muslim country, falling in love is considered a taboo. Therefore, we cannot publicly going on dates”, said Hoai Anh. "If a couple goes on the street with intimate gestures, they will immediately be detained by the police. Therefore, every time we go out on the street together, we walk in a meter apart from each other with cold faces, acting as if we did not know each other".
In the whole eight months of dating, they never hugged once. Hoai Anh sometimes felt sorry for herself and wanted to end the relationship, but Amir encouraged her to stay on. They loved each other in secret for a long time. Hoai Anh also questioned why Amir never mentioned introducing her his parents. Later, Amir confessed that though he loved and decided to marry Hoai Anh, he wanted to make sure that his feeling for her was mature enough before announcing to his parents
In 2018, the couple announced their love for acquaintances and was supported by everyone. However, Hoai Anh's parents were not satisfied because her father heard a rumor that Iranian men often had more than one wife. Hoai Anh then explained to her father that currently, marriage in Iran was monogamous. After her parents went to Iran to visit their children, the two gradually changed their minds and supported their daughter's decision.
|Hoai Anh and her husband in their wedding day. (Photo: Vietnamnet)|
A wedding commitment worth 100 gold ounces
In September 2018, the couple held a simple wedding. Hoai Anh got her name changed into an Iranian one and received an official marriage certificate in the congratulation of her husband's family.
In Iran, when signing a marriage certificate, the witness will ask how much the bride wants if a divorce occurs. The wife then has the right to demand compensation from her husband. Hoai Anh said this is a law to protect the rights of women and also a way to limit divorce. Declaration of commitment signed by the state of Iran states that whenever a divorce occurs, the wife has the right to ask her husband the amount of money committed in the paper. If the husband does not fulfill this obligation, he will go to jail.
Wedding commitment is not a common convention in Vietnamese culture. Besides, Hoai Anh also had her own property before marriage, so she did not ask for anything. However, her husband offered a claim of 100 gold ounces.
|The commitment signing ceremony in accordance with Iran laws. (Photo: Vietnamnet)|
The couple planned to have a wedding in Vietnam in early 2020, but due to the influence of Covid-19, the plan was postponed. Hoai Anh and her husband are economically independent, so before the wedding, they could buy their own house, which is only 500m from their parents' house. Every week, the couple visits their parents 2-3 times. Hoai Anh's mother-in-law often welcomes them warmly with delicious dishes.
“My father-in-law loves his daughter-in-law more than his daughter. They do not put pressure on me. Up to this point, my relationship with my husband's family is very good” shared the Vietnamese girl.
Hoai Anh added, her husband had more than 3 years of studying for a Master's degree in the Netherlands, so he had a European way of thinking. Hoai Anh has officially been a Muslim since 2019. Currently, very few Vietnamese live in Iran, so Amir always helps his wife to alleviate her homesickness. Whenever she craves Vietnamese food, Hoai Anh finds ingredients and cooks herself.
“My current life is very happy and peaceful. I'm glad that I met a thoughtful husband who loves his wife like that", Hoai Anh said.
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