Using data from the 2002 Iran Fertility Transition Survey, we examined birth control use between marriage and first pregnancy. We focused on the post-1990 increase in birth control use and develop two explanations. The first posits that birth control use reflects a new marriage form, the conjugal marriage, which places a heightened value on the spousal relationship while deemphasizing the centrality of parenthood. A second explanation stresses the use of a new resource, effective birth control, within an Iranian-Islamist view of marriage. Key to this explanation is the role of the state - Iranian political/religious actors encourage early marriage and the use of birth control. Although the explanations could be complementary, evidence provides more support for the latter.