TEHRAN - Seeing it a chance to defend their country against any possible attack, thousands of Iranian women are training on the traditional Japanese martial arts, forming the Islamic Republic's first female ninja force.What is important to me, as an Iranian and as a teacher, is that I have to do this job so we train women to have strength and ability, Akbar Faraji, who runs the school, said in an interview with Reuters television.
We have to do everything (in our power) to protect our homeland.
Starting the school in 1989, it has now become very popular with around 3,500 women training to become female ninjas.
Ninjutsu instructor Fatima Muamer told Iranian TV station Press TV that the sport increasingly appeals to women as it helps maintain balance between the body and the mind.
The women undergoing training at the school are taught to use traditional Japanese weapons, including bow and arrows, swords, nun-chucks, etc.
The ninja lifestyle has also leaked into the homes of many of female trainees whose husbands also train alongside them with great discipline.
Iran had earlier made it compulsory for boys aged 18 for a minimum 18-month army service.
Ninja women see the training as a preparation to defend their country.
Our aim is for Iranian women to be strengthened and if a problem arises, an unnamed fighter, who has been training for 13 years, said.
She says that she was ready to defend her country anytime.
We will definitely declare our readiness to defend our Islamic homeland.
World powers led by the United States accuse Iran of masking a weapons drive with what Tehran says is a purely civilian atomic program.
Iran says it is pursuing nuclear technology purely for the peaceful goal of generating electricity.
Over the past months, rumors have grown over an imminent Israeli strike against the Islamic Republic.
Hearing repeated threats from the US and Israel over Iran's nuclear program, ninja women said they are prepared to be called upon to defend their country.What we're seeing in the world of fitness and sports is the opportunity to receive training which increases our self-defense abilities and strengthens our bodies, so we are ready to defend our lives and assets, said 28 year-old ninjutsu Raheleh Davoudzadeh.