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Iran hard-liners rally as new protests challenge government

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian hard-liners rallied Saturday to support the country’s supreme leader and clerically overseen government as spontaneous protests sparked by anger over the country’s ailing economy roiled major cities in the Islamic Republic. The demonstrations, commemorating a mass 2009 pro-government rally challenging those who rejected the re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad amid fraud allegations, had been scheduled weeks earlier. However, they took on new importance after the economic protests began Thursday, sparked by social media posts and a surge in prices of basic food supplies, like eggs and poultry. Thousands have gone into the streets of…