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iranian ninjas

Iran’s Female Ninjas Are Suing Reuters

An Iranian female Ninja demonstrates her Ninjutsu skills in a martial arts club during a showcase for the media in the city of Karaj, 40 kms west of the capital Tehran, on March 15, 2012. Martial arts has become popular among Iranian women in recent years as more than 3,000 women train in Ninjutsu in private clubs under the supervision of the Islamic republic's Martial Arts Federation. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, Reuters came out with a report on Iran's famed female ninjas, who are fighting for sexual equality under the Ayatollah by studying ancient martial arts. There are nearly 3,500 of them. Though the women toss shurikens and deliver crushing roundhouses, it's all for practice and show — they don't actually stalk and kill political targets under the cover of night.

Unfortunately, the Reuters story called the ladies "assassins" and alleged that they would be deployed to kill foreign invaders. Other British news outlets repeated the false claim. Realizing its mistake, Reuters quickly corrected the report, but the peaceful martial artists claim that the damage to their reputation has already been done. They're now suing for defamation of character. As one of them put it:

We are taking legal action because the ladies that train in Ninjutsu first and foremost enjoy it as a sport. It's about working out and staying fit. Reuters has blatantly lied about us.

The women fear that the report, which survives online only in slideshow form, could damage their chances to attend international tournaments.

The Telegraph — which also inaccurately said the women were being trained by the regime to fight Westerners — has footage of the ninjas in action, running up walls, somersaulting across rooms, and swinging swords.

But we Western imperialists have nothing to fear. In fact, considering the Iranian regime's prohibition on many female sports, it's the female ninjas themselves who are walking a fine line. 

Photo: Atta Kenaare/AFP/Getty Images