To round out their squadron of flying boats and UFO project, an estimated 3,500 Iranian women are training in Japanese ninjutsu, according to a state-run news station. It's official — the Iranian government is in cahoots with COBRA from G.I. Joe.
The Iranian channel Press TV has produced the above 6.5-minute segment about these shinobis-in-training. The women in the video show off their fighting stances, defensive gymnastics, and stealth techniques, all set to a pulse-pounding techno-orchestral soundtrack.
As much as this report seems ripped straight from a 1980s straight-to-VHS release by the Cannon Group, it's more likely fodder for a Touchstone Pictures beating-the-odds flick a few decades hence.
Ninja training allows Iranian women to demonstrate their martial prowess in a society that marginalizes them with governmental and religious sanctions. As The Atlantic notes:
In 2007, when Iranian women began qualifying for the Olympics, an official publicly warned, "severe punishment will be meted out to those who do not follow Islamic rules during sporting competitions." Only three made it to Beijing; Sara Khoshjamal Fekri, the first-ever Iranian women to qualify in taekwondo, rose to the quarter-finals. International women's competitions in wushu, a Chinese form of exhibition martial arts, routinely see Iranian champions.
Of course, such a state-sponsored news report also sends the less gladdening message, "Hey world, we're knee-deep in bō-wielding Amazons, so keep Chuck Norris the fuck out of our borders."