''But I do not like to be called a matchmaker,'' he said, laughing. ''It reminds me of old women.''
In business for the last three years -- and swamped since newspaper articles publicized the opening of his office three months ago -- Mr. Ardabili is doing a unique job in a country where, after the 1979 Islamic revolution, dating was banned and extramarital relationships became subject to severe punishment. Some restrictions eased after the election of President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate, in 1997.
Still, Mr. Ardabili is careful to work within approved Islamic standards. His Web site has links to statements of permission from half a dozen prominent Iranian clerics.
''I just want to be a true cleric, and as a cleric my job is to help bring balance and happiness to people's lives,'' he said, adjusting a white turban over his clumsily dyed brown hair. That, in Persian culture, means marriage and having children.