Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The White House is calling for "the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran," per a statement by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

Why it matters: Approximately 3,700 Iranian protestors were arrested in the last two weeks — a much higher number than what the Iranian government released. And the protests in Iran are the biggest since 2009; more than 25 cities have seen demonstrations and tens of thousands of Iranians are participating. While they stemmed from unrest over the economy, they quickly snowballed into something larger.

What they're saying: "The Trump Administration is deeply concerned by reports that the Iranian regime has imprisoned thousands of ‎Iranian citizens in the past week for engaging in peaceful protests. ... We will not remain silent as the Iranian dictatorship represses the basic rights of its citizens and will hold Iran’s leaders accountable for any violations. ... The United States calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran, including the victims of the most recent crackdown.

More on the backdrop of the protestors:

  • President Trump has tweeted support of the protests, telling Iranians they will "see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!'
  • Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded that Trump "seems to be a very unstable man - he must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes won't be left without a response," Reuters reports.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - World

Nuclear free-for-all: The arms control era may be ending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki have remained unreplicated for 75 years in part because the U.S. and Soviet Union — after peering over the ledge into nuclear armageddon — began to negotiate.

Why it matters: The arms control era that began after the Cuban Missile Crisis may now be coming to a close. The next phase could be a nuclear free-for-all.

Pelosi, Schumer demand postmaster general reverse USPS cuts ahead of election

Schumer and Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday calling for the recent Trump appointee to reverse operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that "threaten the timely delivery of mail" ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: U.S. mail and election infrastructure are facing a test like no other this November, with a record-breaking number of mail-in ballots expected as Americans attempt to vote in the midst of a pandemic.

2 hours ago - Science

CRISPR co-discoverer on the gene editor's pandemic push

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired and BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the development of CRISPR-based tests for detecting disease — and highlighting how gene-editing tools might one day fight pandemics, one of its discoverers, Jennifer Doudna, tells Axios.

Why it matters: Testing shortages and backlogs underscore a need for improved mass testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic tests based on CRISPR — which Doudna and colleagues identified in 2012, ushering in the "CRISPR revolution" in genome editing — are being developed for dengue, Zika and other diseases, but a global pandemic is a proving ground for these tools that hold promise for speed and lower costs.