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Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien met his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben Shabbat, today at the White House. According to a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, they discussed the domestic unrest in Iran among other topics.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say there's now an opening — due to unrest inside Iran, anti-Iran protests in Iraq and demonstrations in Lebanon — to put even more pressure on Iran's government and weaken its regional influence.

“The two agreed to continue close coordination on countering Iran’s destabilizing influence and activities in the region, as well as monitoring the ramifications of unrest within Iran."
— From the joint statement, which also said they discussed Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other regional issues.

O'Brien also told Ben Shabbat that "common interests between Israel and Arab states ... made new regional partnerships possible to counter Iran’s malign influence and create a more prosperous and peaceful future for all."

According to the statement, O’Brien and Ben Shabbat directed their respective teams to continue joint working groups in the months ahead in the areas of cyber, intelligence, and telecommunications security to counter the threats posed by Iran and other actors.  

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
42 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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