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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

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.