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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

Iranians in several major cities took to the streets this week in protests stemming "from seething discontent in Iran," the BBC reports. The protests started over the state of the economy, but quickly became "a general outcry against clerical rule and government policies."

Why it matters: These are the most widespread protests since those in 2009 and political protests are rare in Iran where "security services are omnipresent," per Reuters.

  • Many protesters have voiced anger against President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected for a second term in May, shouting "Death to Rouhani," and "Death to the dictator," per U.S. News.
  • Reuters reports that videos showed protestors also shouting out against Iran's involvement in Syria, chanting "Leave Syria, think about us."
  • Per the New York Times, the Iran project director for the International Crisis Group, Ali Vaez, credited Rouhani's opponents for ultimately starting "an antiregime rally" that has spread across Iran.

A reformist cleric in Qom, Fazel Meybodi, told the Times the protests stemmed from real concerns: "Economic issues are urgent, and the protests have nothing to do with any factions - neither reformist nor hard-liner. Poor people are protesting, that is it."

Go deeper

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

5 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.