The process of marrying an Iranian citizen living in Iran is difficult for an American citizen, but not impossible. You will simply have to take the process slowly and do your research ahead of time so you are not surprised by any local laws!
If you are a foreign man marrying an Iranian woman, you will not be considered an Iranian citizen and any children will be subject to the same restrictions and visa applications. Your Iranian wife can shorten the waiting time through a written letter, however. If you are a foreign woman marrying an Iranian man, you are considered an Iranian national after marriage, and are entitled to an Iranian birth certificate and passport. You will lose many rights, including traveling and childcare, so do your research ahead of time.
You need to bring a certificate of the recitation of matrimonial verses if it is in Islam, or a marriage certificate from Christian or Jewish faiths. Each of you needs a certificate of general physical health.
Application number 202 is for a foreign man and 204 for a foreign woman, and you can fill it out in English. If the woman is foreign, she needs application 206 to get an Iranian birth certificate. The foreigner will need an International Certificate of Birth issued by the local Municipality, indicating your parents’ names and nationalities. An original certificate of conversion to Islam that is issued by an Embassy-approved Islamic center is also necessary. Your employment letter and a clean criminal record check, a financial affidavit made at the Embassy, and eight (foreign woman) or twelve (foreign man) copies of photos of each of you.
The Iranian will need their Iranian birth certificate and may need an application for a Certificate of Celibacy. If the woman is Iranian, she needs a letter of permission from her father or paternal grandfather for a first marriage, also approved by an official notary office. If they are deceased, she needs their Iranian-issued death certificate.
There may be additional required documentation, so contact the Iranian Embassy in Washington, DC (located at 2209 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest) as soon as possible to find out the exact documentation you will require.
* There is no US Embassy in Iran, so tread carefully. You need to contact the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to obtain assistance. Their address is: No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th), Pasdaran Avenue.
* There is no dual citizenship as recognized by Iran, so a foreign woman marrying an Iranian man may have her passport seized by the Iranian authorities. If this is the case, there is little the US government can do to interfere. Once you are an Iranian citizen, you may be prevented access to the Swiss Embassy because you are now, to their eyes, only an Iranian citizen.
* Relations between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are illegal, and may be punished harshly. Also, sex outside of marriage carries the death penalty. Former Muslims are in particular danger, and you will be punished under Iranian law even if you were not aware that you were doing something wrong (such as bringing a magazine into the country with an unveiled woman).
If the arduous process of marrying an Iranian is worth it to you, tread carefully and do your research ahead of time. Stay on the right side of the law and your marriage can be happy and fruitful!