The visibility of Iranian women has increased during the recent protests prompted by the disputed June 12th election. Even though the international news media is barred from covering the street protests, they are receiving underground information from protesters.

Women protesters say that their greatest motivation for becoming vocal is their fear that their already repressed lives will become more restricted under the continued rule of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has the full backing of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

Although Iranian women enjoy greater freedoms than their counterparts in other Muslim countries, their liberties pale in comparison to Western women. Signals sent out by the Iranian government have cemented their belief that further restrictions will be enacted.

Iranian women usually show their disapproval in more subtle ways, such as carefully exposed strands of hair. Their bolder defiance is a clear indication that they refuse to sit idly by while their lives are legislated and regulated beyond reason by men.

Claims of voter fraud have persisted and increased since June 12th. The Ayatollah’s vow to defend the election results has only escalated tensions. Rock-throwing opposition supporters find themselves virtually defenseless against tear gas used by the Revolutionary Guard and pro-government citizen militias.

Fears of greater crackdowns have forced Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to shy away from the protests. Condemnation from Western nations has been met by government allegations that the protesters are incited to violence by the British and American media.

Female protesters claim that they are fighting to preserve the few freedoms they enjoy, as their survival and quality of life are at stake.