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.

Pages

Parallels
6:38 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 11:25 am

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.

Read more
Middle East
6:21 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Iran Talks Intensify On Day Before Deadline

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 12:26 pm

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

Parallels
1:37 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 6:47 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.

Read more
Parallels
4:15 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.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:21 am
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 3:07 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.

Read more
Middle East
11:58 am
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 2:04 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.

Read more
Parallels
2:47 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 6:46 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.

Read more
Parallels
6:46 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 9:26 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.

Read more
Parallels
2:35 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 2:24 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.

Read more
Middle East
8:09 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Progress In Nuclear Talks With Iran Is Still Glacial

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 10:07 am

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

World
10:11 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."

Read more
Parallels
2:34 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 7:48 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.

Read more
Iraq
5:45 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Islamic State Suffers Rare Defeat In Amerli

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Read more
Iraq
6:50 am
Sun August 31, 2014

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

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 12:31 pm

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

Parallels
9:17 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 7:40 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.

Read more
Parallels
11:08 am
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 9:09 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.

Read more
Crime In The City
2:26 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Mystery Writer Finds Istanbul's Byzantine Past Hiding In Plain Sight

The Hagia Sophia is one of the city's most well-known Byzantine monuments, but it's also home to a lesser-known memorial: a plaque for the man who encouraged the Fourth Crusade's plundering of the city.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:20 pm

Istanbul makes an exotic first impression: Boat traffic on the Bosporus sends waves brushing up against the shores of both Europe and Asia as enormous mosques and monuments from previous empires stand guard.

The city wears its history more openly than many, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to find. So writer Selcuk Altun spins mysteries that take his heroes into forgotten corners of the city, where once-majestic monuments go unnoticed amid the bustle of modern life.

Read more
Iraq
10:50 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Kurdish Forces Say They're Waiting For U.S. Weapons

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter on the front line in Bashiqa, a village near Mosul.
Ahmad al-Rubaye AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 23, 2014 11:53 am

Iraq's ethnic Kurds are longtime U.S. allies and have put up the toughest resistance to the Sunni extremists in the so-called Islamic State that has captured swaths or Iraq's north and west.

They're getting help from U.S. air strikes, but also need heavier weapons of their own to match the firepower of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Weapons have been promised by the U.S. and other countries, but getting them through the central government in Baghdad has hampered the mission, according to Kurdish commanders.

Read more
Parallels
5:34 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Embattled Yazidis Say They Are Now Enduring Atrocity No. 74

Abbas Soullo, a Yazidi man, shows his bullet wounds at a camp for the displaced in northern Iraq, near the Syrian border. He says he is the only survivor of 58 Yazidi men who were rounded up and shot on Aug. 3 in the town of Jazira.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 9:55 pm

A massacre of members of the Yazidi minority in the Iraqi town of Kocho made headlines last week. Around 80 men were killed by militants from the so-called Islamic State, the extremist group that has swept through much of northern Iraq.

But that was not the only massacre, according to the Yazidis. In a camp for the displaced near the Syrian border, people call 21-year-old Abbas Khader Soullo a walking miracle. To explain why, he unbuttons his shirt and shows his bullet wounds.

Read more
Iraq
7:00 am
Sun August 17, 2014

Islamic Militants Kill Dozens Of Yazidis In Northern Iraq

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 10:39 am

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

Iraq
4:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Iraq Has New Leadership, Al-Malaki Will Step Aside

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 6:36 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Iraq
3:09 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Obama Says Siege Of Mount Sinjar Is Broken, But Crisis Persists

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 5:35 pm

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

Parallels
7:02 am
Sun August 10, 2014

Turkey's Erdogan Seeks An Expanded Role As President

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes to become the nation's first strong president since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded Turkey in 1923.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 11:18 am

The news from Turkey lately has been mostly bad: A mine disaster this spring killed more than 300 workers; a corruption probe in December raised allegations of high-level graft in the Cabinet; and resentment continues to smolder against mega-projects that are threatening Istanbul's remaining green spaces.

Read more
Middle East
3:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

With A Deadline Days Away, Iran Nuclear Deal Might Get An Extension

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 6:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

After two days of nuclear talks with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Washington. Sunday is the deadline for a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Vienna that the talks could be extended.

Read more
Middle East
3:09 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Iran Nuclear Negotiations Try To Hurdle Impasse As Deadline Nears

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 5:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Iranian and American diplomats are facing a July 20th deadline to come up with a nuclear agreement. A deal could prevent any Iranian attempt to build a bomb. Failure could bring back the mutual hostility of the past. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Vienna, nuclear fuel, uranium, is the crucial issue.

Read more
Middle East
3:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Crowded By Two Shaky States, Turkey Shifts Its Weight In Policy

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 6:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The fighting is so bad in Iraq that yesterday NATO promised to defend member country Turkey from any spillover violence. Turkey borders two countries that some analysts now call failed states, Iraq and Syria. That's forcing Turkey to consider policies that could change the map of the region, even the possibility of more independence for Iraqi Kurds. That's something Turkey has vehemently opposed for decades. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

Read more
Middle East
10:22 am
Sat June 21, 2014

Talks Yield Possible Framework For Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Negotiators trying to ensure that Iran has only a peaceful nuclear program have less than a month to reach an agreement. A week of talks in Vienna yielded the potential beginnings of a deal. But thorny problems remain unresolved.

As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, U.S. and Iranian negotiators also spent time fending off questions about the crisis in Iraq.

Read more
Parallels
10:44 am
Mon June 16, 2014

The Key Sticking Points In The Iranian Nuclear Talks

Iranian employees pose for a picture at the newly opened heavy water plant in Arak, in 2006. Iran is negotiating with six world powers on the fate of the plant and other issues concerning its nuclear program.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 12:13 pm

Iran and six world powers are meeting in Vienna this week in their latest attempt to hammer out a comprehensive nuclear agreement by July 20.

That's when a six-month interim agreement expires. It can be extended for up to another six months, though all sides say they're aiming for an agreement this summer.

Iran is negotiating with the so-called P5 plus one, which consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany.

Read more
Europe
3:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Former Boxer Steps Up As Kiev Mayor, Spars With Remaining Activists

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 6:29 pm

Former world heavyweight boxing champ Vitaly Klitchko is now set to become mayor of Kiev. In his first major move, Klitchko is asking activists in Independence Square to pack up their tents and allow the square to return to normal. Some activists are resisting, warning that one presidential election doesn't guarantee the success of their revolution — or do justice to the martyrs who were killed there.

Europe
6:34 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Rare Right-Wing Party Favors EU Integration, Joining Nato

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 11:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Europe's far-right parties did well, really well in last week's elections to the European Parliament. But their embrace of Russia and its annexation of Crimea is not exactly what the far-right counterparts in Ukraine were expecting. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on a rare right-wing party that favors EU integration and joining NATO.

Read more

Pages