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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Middle East
4:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Uncertainty Reigns At Start Of Iran Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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Parallels
1:37 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

At Iranian Colleges, Some See Brighter Future In Another Country

Iranian high school students sit for their university entrance examination in Tehran in 2009. Iran's economy has been struggling in recent years, and many graduates feel they have few career options.
Mona Hoobehfekr AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

President Hassan Rouhani appeals to Iranian college students when he talks about creating more opportunities for the young. But the clock is ticking. Many of those born long after the 1979 Islamic Revolution see limited prospects at home and envision a better future abroad.

Outside Tehran University, Iran's largest, you can find earnest young students like Fazle Mahmoudian, 21, a math major who says he knows job prospects are grim, though he's not looking to leave.

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Parallels
3:44 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Iran's Hope Is Sanctions Relief, But Reality Is Struggling Economy

Low-income Iranians line up to receive food supplies in south Tehran. Iran remains an economy of subsidies, although some direct cash payments have been replaced by food baskets for the poor.
Davoud Ghahrdar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 11:07 am

Iran's economy may be struggling, but that doesn't mean everyone is suffering.

In a downtown Tehran restaurant, a well-dressed young man who asks to be identified only as Ahmad sits with a friend enjoying a water pipe of flavored tobacco.

Ahmad is a bit vague about what he does — first he says he's in the petrochemical business, then describes himself as an independent trader. He shares the general consensus that President Hassan Rouhani has brought a better atmosphere to the country but no real economic changes.

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Parallels
5:04 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Iran's President Marks Revolution With Call For Negotiations

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Azadi Square in Tehran, on Tuesday. Rouhani called for "respectful, constructive" nuclear talks with world powers — a departure from the hard line of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:58 pm

Iran on Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, a day when the country's religious conservatives and military hard-liners take center stage, and calls of "Death to America" echo across the country.

In Tehran's Azadi Square, one man waving an orange "Down with the USA" flag condemned the U.S. and Israel, and then, perhaps not sure of the nationality of the reporter standing nearby, threw in England and France for good measure.

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Middle East
5:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Iranians Look Back On 35 Years Since The Revolution

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Iran is marking the anniversary of its Islamic revolution. It's the 35th anniversary of the protests that ended in 1979 with the overthrow of a U.S. ally, the Shah of Iran. The government that has ruled ever since uses Death to America as one of its basic slogans but the possibility of better relations emerged after the election of a new Iranian president last year.

NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Iran. Hi, Peter.

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Middle East
5:44 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Iran's President Rouhani Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt, For Now

Female supporters of Hassan Rouhani, then an Iranian presidential candidate, chant slogans during a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, on June 8, 2013. Rouhani has embarked on a diplomatic outreach program since taking office.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:04 pm

As Iran prepares to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, it's not hard to find evidence of its much analyzed devotion to martyrdom, especially around this holiday.

It's also not hard to find chants of "Death to America." Just drop by the massive Mosalla Imam Khomeini mosque for Friday prayers.

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Parallels
3:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Istanbul's Mega-Projects: Bigger Is Better, Or A 'Crazy Canal'?

The pillars for the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, commonly known as the "Third Bridge" rise from the Anatolian and European sides of the Bosphorus, above the fishing harbor of Poyrazkoy. When completed, the bridge will be over two kilometers in length, making it the longest combination railway/highway bridge in the world.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

Istanbul has long been a city of historical layers and sharp contrasts: ancient monuments share the skyline none too comfortably with modern skyscrapers, and charming cobbled streets run alongside massive highway traffic snarls.

Those contrasts have multiplied under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his love of giant building projects hasn't abated after more than a decade in power.

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Middle East
5:22 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Syria Peace Talks Take A Break

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:51 pm

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

No tangible results, that verdict today from Syria's foreign minister as peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. Despite the lack of progress, opposition delegates say they gained new support by standing face to face with representatives of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. mediator is asking both sides to return to talks on February 10th. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and begins our coverage.

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Middle East
6:32 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Syrian Opposition Group Treads New Territory In Geneva

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The first round of the Syria peace talks is set to adjourn tomorrow. The opposition delegation is expecting to leave Geneva without progress toward its top goal: a transitional government that ends the tenure of President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition began these talks with a reputation as a fractious and ineffective group.

And NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the delegates have been surprised and pleased to see messages of support beginning to come from inside Syria.

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Middle East
5:17 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

At Syria Talks, Sides Meet In Person — But Don't See Eye To Eye

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

At the Syria talks in Geneva today, government and opposition representatives held their first face-to-face discussion about a political transition. By the end of the day, United Nations' mediator Lakhdar Brahimi had no progress to report. He urged both sides to focus on the desperate humanitarian situation facing Syrians in several besieged cities.

NPR's Peter Kenyon has more from Geneva.

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Middle East
5:01 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Turkish Opposition Eyes Its Opportunity In March

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 10:38 am

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Over the next 17 months, Turkey will see three elections: local and presidential elections this year, followed by parliamentary voting next year. With Turkey's political landscape unsettled by scandals and growing voter discontent, even the local elections are drawing intense interest and that is especially true in Istanbul. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, the secular opposition sees the mayor's race there as its best chance in a decade of scoring a win over the dominant ruling party.

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Middle East
5:26 am
Mon January 20, 2014

As Iranian Nuclear Deal Starts, Second Round Of Talks Loom Large

The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, in 2010.
Majid Asgaripour AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 1:03 pm

Day one of a six-month period of reduced Iranian nuclear activity and a slight easing of economic sanctions begins Monday. The interim accord may be a high-water mark for nuclear diplomacy, but soon negotiators must begin to fashion a comprehensive nuclear accord in the face of widespread skepticism.

Each side is sniping at the other's interpretation of the relatively modest steps agreed to thus far.

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Middle East
5:05 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Turkish Scandal Shines Light On 'Shadowy' Muslim Leader

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:45 pm

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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World
5:40 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Political Feud In Turkey Makes For Unlikely Allies

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

In Turkey, a widespread corruption scandal appears to be forcing an odd alliance. On one side is the prime minister, a conservative Muslim. On the other are members of the secular military establishment. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, Turkey's leader has done the political equivalent of a 180. He's defending generals who were imprisoned on his watch, while denouncing his own prosecutors.

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Middle East
5:03 am
Mon December 30, 2013

2013 Was A Breakthrough Year For Nuclear Diplomacy

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And as the hours are counted down towards the end of 2013, we're looking back at some of the stories that helped define the year that was. And one of the most significant moments this year - after years of resisting, Iran reached an agreement with the U.S. and other world powers to suspend much of its nuclear activity.

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Middle East
5:48 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Turkey Struggles To Set Foreign Policy In Changing Neighborhood

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Middle East
4:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Iran's Rouhani Needs A Nuke Deal To Balance Big Budget Cuts

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Iran's President Hasan Rouhani has presented his first budget to parliament. Economists say it's remarkably different from the free-spending plans of recent years. The budget comes as negotiators are hashing out the details of Iran's nuclear program. Limiting its uranium enrichment will ease sanctions, which will help lift Iran's economy.

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Parallels
3:27 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 pm

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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Middle East
5:29 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Is Easing Iran Sanctions The Right Move?

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:56 pm

Much of the criticism of the interim nuclear deal reached with Iran Sunday has focused on the sanctions relief Iran will receive over the next six months if it follows through on restricting its nuclear program. Although the only irreversible relief being offered is a gradual release of $4.2 billion in frozen Iranian revenue, critics warn that the "architecture of the sanctions regime has been undermined." Analysts say all the important sanctions hampering Iran's economy remain in place, but the announcement of the deal itself is having a psychological impact on markets.

Middle East
5:22 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Challenges Predicted For Next Round Of Iran Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:11 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As we've heard elsewhere in the program, the nuclear agreement reached with Iran over the weekend is a temporary deal with a six-month timeline. There are plenty of unresolved issues and possibly tougher negotiations to come. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this look ahead.

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