Peter Kenyon

Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Prior to taking this assignment in 2010, Kenyon spent five years in Cairo covering Middle Eastern and North African countries from Syria to Morocco. He was part of NPR's team recognized with two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards for outstanding coverage of post-war Iraq.

In addition to regular stints in Iraq, he has followed stories to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco and other countries in the region.

Arriving at NPR in 1995, Kenyon spent six years in Washington, D.C., working in a variety of positions including as a correspondent covering the US Senate during President Bill Clinton's second term and the beginning of the President George W. Bush's administration.

Kenyon came to NPR from the Alaska Public Radio Network. He began his public radio career in the small fishing community of Petersburg, where he met his wife Nevette, a commercial fisherwoman.

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Parallels
3:30 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Turks And Armenians Prepare For Dueling Anniversaries On Friday

Armenians lay flowers Tuesday at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia. Armenians on Friday will commemorate 100 years since 1.5 million of their kin were killed by Ottoman forces. Armenians and many historians call it the first genocide of the 20th century, but Turkey fiercely rejects that label.
Karen Minasyan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 3:16 pm

Armenians are preparing to mark on Friday the 100th anniversary of the killing of as many as 1.5 million of their ancestors by the Ottoman Empire. And Turks are getting ready to celebrate the centennial of a major military victory by the Ottoman forces over the Allied powers at Gallipoli in World War I.

Turkey traditionally holds the Gallipoli ceremonies on April 25, which falls on Saturday this year. But it is moving up the events by one day to Friday in what critics call a clumsy attempt to overshadow Armenian Remembrance Day.

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Middle East
8:01 am
Sat April 4, 2015

U.S. And Iran Offer Different Narratives On The Same Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 10:30 am

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Politics
4:46 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Iranian Nuclear Talks Continue Past Deadline

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 10:03 am

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks On Pause As Deadline Looms

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) at a meeting Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brian Snyder AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 3:01 pm

Diplomats seeking the framework of a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief are taking leave of Switzerland — but only for a few days.

"Yes, we are all leaving," a smiling Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said as he walked past reporters at the luxury Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne, site of the 1920s treaty that finally dissolved the Ottoman Empire.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks Report Progress, While Critics Ratchet Up The Rhetoric

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry goes for a stroll along the shore of Lake Geneva on Sunday prior to renewed nuclear negotiations in Geneva with his Iranian counterpart.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:23 pm

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

U.S. and Iranian negotiators wrapped up nuclear talks in a venerable lakefront luxury hotel in Geneva on Monday, with an American official saying, "We made some progress," but adding, "there's still a long way to go."

The sides are trying to close the gaps in their positions on what the future of Iran's nuclear program should be and when sanctions against Iran might be lifted. The U.S. official says they'll be back at the table next Monday.

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Middle East
8:01 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Turkey Launches Operation Across Syria's Border

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 12:36 pm

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Middle East
7:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

Jordan Rejects ISIS Claim That Strike Killed American Hostage

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:19 am

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Middle East
4:35 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Jordan's Military Claims New Air Strikes Against ISIS

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 6:23 pm

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Parallels
4:37 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

As Jets Roar Overhead, Jordan Remembers Its Fallen Pilot

Mourners pray during a ceremony for Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was killed by the Islamic State after he was captured in December. At Wednesday's service, which took place in the city of Karak, mourners called for the destruction of ISIS.
Khalil Mazraawi AFP/Getty

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 8:16 am

Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh's village curves around mountainous slopes not far from the ancient city of Karak, where the walls of a sprawling castle were once washed in blood as the Crusaders lost out to the forces of the mighty Muslim warrior Saladin in the 12th century.

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World
4:28 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

ISIS Demands $200 Million Ransom For Japanese Hostages

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 8:00 pm

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Middle East
5:16 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Nuclear Talks With Iran Recess After 'Limited' Progress

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:38 am

As diplomats trickled out into a frigid Geneva Sunday evening, descriptions of the talks trickled out with them. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi refused to characterize the progress made so far.

"It's too soon to say if we are able to make any progress or not," Aragchi said. "We are still trying to bridge the gaps between the two sides. We try our best, and as I have always said, as diplomats we are always hopeful."

China's delegation had a one-on-one with the Iranians and negotiator Wang Qun was more positive about the talks.

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World
4:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

For Iran And The West, A Rocky Year For Nuclear Diplomacy

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Parallels
9:23 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Turkey's President And His 1,100-Room 'White Palace'

Turkey's new presidential palace in the capital, Ankara, has an official price tag of $615 million and more than 1,000 rooms. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ak Saray, or the White Palace, is not his palace, but that of Turkey. But not everyone is so sure.
Aykut Unlupinar Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 4:06 pm

On the outskirts of the Turkish capital, a new landmark looms over what was once Ankara forestland. It's a new presidential palace complex, with at least 1,100 rooms and an official price tag of $615 million — although critics suggest both figures are probably higher.

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Parallels
7:38 am
Sun December 7, 2014

For Iran, The Trend Lines All Seem To Point In The Wrong Direction

President Hassan Rouhani's election last year gave many Iranians hope, but he has not offered a clear path out of the country's current problems, which include a weakening economy, tough sanctions and nuclear talks that are dragging on.
Mohammad Berno AP

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 12:25 pm

Oil prices are at a five-year low, inflation is on the rise, the currency is sinking and nuclear talks are dragging on with no end to sanctions in sight. Those are the grim indicators confronting Iranians as winter approaches.

Iran's leaders are counseling resilience and patience, but Iranians aren't finding much to be hopeful about, although they're dealing with it in their own way.

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Middle East
7:14 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Iran Talks Intensify On Day Before Deadline

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 1:26 pm

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Parallels
2:37 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

With Hand-Sewn Ships, Oman Revives A Glorious Maritime Past

The Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a ninth century Omani trading ship, sails into the harbor of Galle, Sri Lanka, in 2010. The ship was built in a traditional manner that uses coconut fibers (but no nails) to hold the ship together. The ship followed old routes used by Arab traders.
Lakruwan Wanniarachchi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 7:47 pm

These days, a visitor to the Persian Gulf sultanate of Oman is likely to be a pale European seeking some winter sun, or perhaps a diplomat seeking to broker a deal between longtime rivals such as, say, the U.S. and Iran. But Oman's reputation as a go-between is well-earned and stretches back centuries.

Back when Northern Europe was overrun by Vikings, Oman had a vast maritime trading empire.
 Now the country is training a new generation of Omanis to care for that legacy, and along the way remind the world of its rich maritime history.

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Parallels
5:15 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

In Oman, The Man Who Has Defined The Country Is Now Rarely Seen

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 73, salutes during a military parade in the capital Muscat on Oman's national day in November 2013. Qaboos, who has ruled for 44 years, has maintained friendly relations with everyone from the U.S. to Iran. However, he has been abroad for months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Mohammed Mahjoub AFP/Getty

It's a festive time in Oman, the sleepy sultanate on the edge of the Persian Gulf. The national day is Nov. 18, marking Oman's liberation from Portugese colonization, and the capital Muscat is bedecked with banners, scarves and flags. The spicy-sweet smell of frankincense is everywhere, as are images of Oman's absolute monarch for the past 44 years, Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Iranian Rally Marking Anniversary Of U.S. Hostage Crisis Has A Twist

Iranian women chant during a demonstration in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, marking the 1979 takeover just days ahead of a key meeting between the two nations' top diplomats over Iran's nuclear program.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 4:07 pm

Three and a half decades after young Iranians stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and triggered a 444-day hostage crisis, calls of "Down with America!" again rang out on the streets outside the former U.S. mission.

So far, so predictable. But this year's rally featured an unusual twist, according to official media.

The Islamic Republic News Agency reports that the rally's final communique condemned America as an "oppressor power" that must be resisted.

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Middle East
12:55 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

After Acid Attacks And Execution, Iran Defends Human Rights Record

Iranians protest in Isfahan, Iran, last month in solidarity with women injured in a series of acid attacks. Several women have been attacked by assailants on motorcycles who threw acid on their faces, purportedly because they were "badly veiled."
Arya Jafari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 3:04 pm

Iranian officials attacked the latest United Nations report on its human rights record Friday, blasting what they called efforts to impose a Western lifestyle on the Islamic republic.

But for Iranians and others who hoped President Hassan Rouhani would begin to turn around his county's human rights record, the U.N. report provided a depressing but not surprising answer. It said executions in Rouhani's first year in office had increased to what U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed called "alarming" levels.

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Parallels
3:47 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

In Southeast Turkey, A Long History Of Bloodshed And Worship

The pillars at Gobekli Tepe resemble those at Stonehenge — but predate them by several thousand years.
J. Pfeiffer DPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 7:46 pm

The Urfa plain in southeastern Turkey — not far from where Syrian refugees watch fighters from the so-called Islamic State wage a brutal war in the name of a primitive version of their faith — is one of the most fought-over landscapes in human civilization.

But on the plain — soaked in blood since the days when Sumerian and Assyrian kings ruled Mesopotamia — there's a place that's even older, so old that its denizens hadn't mastered the arts of pottery, writing or making war.

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Parallels
7:46 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Syria's 'Moderate Rebels' Say They Are Willing, But Need Weapons

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after attacking a tank with a rocket-propelled grenade during fighting in Aleppo, Syria, in September 2012. The rebels say they are willing to take on the Islamic State, but need more weapons.
Manu Brabo AP

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 10:26 pm

The American-led coalition opposing the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is starting to move toward vetting and training ground forces to do battle in both countries.

But it's a slow process, and it comes after years of frustrations for veterans of the Free Syrian Army, or the FSA, who have gathered in southeastern Turkey, a place with a long history of epic battles and religious fights.

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Parallels
3:35 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Kurds Hoping To Fight ISIS In Kobani Are Trapped By Turkish Suspicions

Thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Kobani, Syria, while fighting continued between Syrian Kurds and the militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 3:24 pm

Syrian defenders of the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani say an increase in coalition airstrikes — and better coordination with the air support — have helped them hold off the more heavily armed fighters from the so-called Islamic State.

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Middle East
9:09 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Progress In Nuclear Talks With Iran Is Still Glacial

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 11:07 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

World
11:11 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Rouhani: Western Powers Have Helped Globalize Terrorism

"Today's anti-Westernism is a reaction to yesterday's racism," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.
Jason DeCrow AP

Iran's president brought an unsettling message to the United Nations on Thursday: Middle Eastern terrorism has been globalized, in part thanks to mistakes made by Western powers, and the threat cannot be eliminated by outside force alone.

President Hassan Rouhani, feted at last year's U.N. General Assembly as a welcome change from his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the world body that his part of the world is "burning in the fire of extremism and radicalism."

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Middle East
4:16 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Iran Nuclear Talks Have A Different Tone This Time Around

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 6:08 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
3:34 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Amid Warnings Of Ethnic Cleansing, A Yazidi Man's Suicide Resonates

Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community settle under a bridge in central Dahuk, Aug. 14. Human rights activists say evidence of the Islamic State's violence against the Yazidis points to war crimes, and amounts to ethnic cleansing.
Khalid Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:48 am

With so many members of Iraq's Yazidi religious minority killed, abducted or left homeless in recent weeks, one more death — due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound — might almost pass unnoticed. But friends and family of 33-year-old Naif Khalif Omar say his suicide is resonating in a community that sees only a bleak future ahead.

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Iraq
6:45 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Islamic State Suffers Rare Defeat In Amerli

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Iraq
7:50 am
Sun August 31, 2014

U.S. Launches Airstrikes To Help Aid Reach Iraqi Town

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 1:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
10:17 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Life Under The Islamic State: Sharia Law And Few Services

An Iraqi child walks next an empty house of a Christian family in Mosul on Aug. 8. The Arabic writing on the wall reads "Real Estate of the Islamic State." The extremist group took control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in June.
STR EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 8:40 pm

Ever since the Islamic State seized Mosul more than two months ago, it's been difficult to get a detailed picture of life inside Iraq's second largest city.

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Parallels
12:08 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Iraqi Christian Village: From Sanctuary To Ghost Town In 2 Months

Friar Gabriel Tooma leads a service at the Chaldean Church of the Virgin Mary of the Harvest, in Al-Qosh on June 15. At the time, the Christian village in northern Iraq was taking in those fleeing violence in the nearby city of Mosul. Now the village itself is largely deserted.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:09 am

The northern Iraqi village of Al-Qosh was humming with activity — and some jitters — when NPR visited back in June. The Assyrian Christian villagers had opened their schools and homes to Iraqis fleeing the takeover of nearby Mosul by Islamist fighters calling themselves the Islamic State.

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