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

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
2 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.