Center for Strategic Communication

Perfume bottles for sale. Now weaponize it. This week Iran revealed a perfume device that its inventor claims hides the smell of gunpowder. Photo: Matthew Mendoza/Flickr

Call it the Dior of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In one of the more bizarre military inventions from Iran, the U.S. arch-enemy has reportedly developed a perfume machine to hide troops during combat.

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported that an Iranian inventor created a “fragrance making and spraying device to deceive enemies on the battlefield.” The invention, called “Deceit Perfume” and jointly built as a “strategic project of the armed forces,” is intended to camouflage the smell of gunpowder by spreading odors over “vast areas.” Tehran’s troops will also have a choice of four agreeable aromas: fresh air, rainy weather, seaside weather (for the navy) and tea, according to the news agency.

There’s no telling how the device will deliver the perfume or how large it is — perhaps it’s in the shape of a gun — but the machine is said to be a “highly effective and strategic weapon for civil defense, and for pushing back enemy threats, surprise attacks and offenses,” inventor Mohammad Sadeh Pir-Tavana told Fars. Perhaps it could be used by Iran’s 3,500-strong ninja army.

The device is mainly to be used during an unconventional war against a much larger foe, where the smell of cordite from a recent firefight could give away the location of Iranian insurgents. Instead of being alerted to the Iranians’ presence by the smell, America’s troops may be deceived into letting their guard down by the refreshing scent of an incoming rainstorm. On the other hand, if U.S. troops were actually chasing insurgents around in the middle of a hypothetical war with Iran, suddenly encountering the smell of tea — or the scent of rainy weather when it’s not cloudy or raining — could be a dead giveaway that the insurgents are close after all. But never mind.

It wouldn’t be the first time America’s foes have attempted to militarize musk. In 2010, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was reported to have attempted to kill Saudi Arabian officials and clerics with poisoned perfume. The plot, though, apparently never made it past the planning stages, and which was to include robbing banks to pay for the plot. Iran’s military fragrances are more defensive in nature.

The perfume machine is also just the latest — and weirdest — in a series of boasts and military projects announced by Tehran in recent days. The more conventional announcements include Iran building a new drone called the Shaparak, or Butterfly, which the Revolutionary Guards wants to equip with missiles. Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi reiterated on Monday that developing smart bombs constitutes “one of the main and important strategies of the defense ministry.” Iran also announced on Monday that its drones are now operating with air defense units, and the the Islamic Republic is looking to boost its air defense grid with new missiles and an indigenous version of Russia’s S-300 surface-to-air missile launcher.

The IAEA, meanwhile, believes Iran has doubled its number of nuclear centrifuges, but Iran is reportedly having trouble updating equipment needed to speed up uranium enrichment, which could be used to build a bomb.

Now for another far-out announcement, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Tuesday that Iran plans to send warships near U.S. coasts within “the next few years,” according to the Associated Press. But, erm, Tehran regularly makes announcements like that. And actually sending a warship — while possible if Iran managed to get the money together and secured a resupply base in a country like Venezuela — would be so pitiful a threat to the homeland that the U.S. military would instead “probably be grateful for the opportunity to study an Iranian ship close up,” wrote National Post‘s Matt Gurney.

Suffice to say, if Iran ever does send a warship, somehow using a perfume machine to spray the scent of seaside weather doesn’t sound like it will be very effective. Of course, the U.S. might not have reckoned with the ninja army. And we all know that ninjas will use every trick at hand — including scent — in order to sneak up and get you.