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Iran supreme leader warns ‘thugs’ amid gas price protests

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday backed the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices and called angry protesters who have been setting fire to public property over the hike “thugs,” signaling a potential crackdown on the demonstrations.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments came as authorities shut down the internet across Iran to smother the protests in some two dozen cities and towns over the rise of government-set prices by 50% as of Friday. One firm said it was the biggest internet outage ever seen in Iran.

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