Among the latest to die in the rising violence in Iran were an 11-year-old boy, a 20-year-old man and the first member of the security forces, from the Revolutionary Guard. Hunting rifles, commonly available in rural areas, were said to have been used in the shootings. The killings, if accounts of them are true, are a significant development in an increasingly volatile and incendiary situation.
The hardliners can use these deaths as evidence that extremists or foreign agents are behind the protests and demand a severe crackdown. Some of those who have been taking part in the demonstrations are themselves concerned that agent provocateurs are at work trying to sabotage their legitimate protests against economic hardship and corruption.