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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.

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. Days and nights of intensive talks on the shore of Lake Geneva brought the sides closer to an...

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. Secretary of State John...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Several hundred Turkish troops backed by tanks and armored vehicles crossed into northern Syria overnight. Turkey's prime minister says they successfully evacuated dozens of Turkish soldiers who had been guarding a tomb near Aleppo. Though the tomb is inside Syria, the sacred site flies a Turkish flag. NPR's Peter Kenyon has been following the story from Geneva. He reports that the operation may signal...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The group calling itself the Islamic State says a Jordanian airstrike yesterday killed a U.S. hostage - 26-year-old Kayla Jean Mueller of Arizona. U.S. officials say that there is no evidence to support the claim. Jordan calls the statement a propaganda stunt. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Amman where people are still staggered by the burning to death by ISIS of a captured Jordanian air force pilot....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Jordan's military says its planes carried out new airstrikes today on the self-proclaimed Islamic State or ISIS. It's part of the country's reaction to the brutal killing of a Jordanian pilot. Ahead, an analyst will explain the significance of the ISIS video of the killing. First, NPR's Peter Kenyon has been talking to Jordanians and to military experts on what the government's pledge of a harsh...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The Japanese government is facing a ransom demand of $200 million for the lives of two Japanese men held hostage by the self-described Islamic State. The demand was made in a video posted online in which a hooded fighter gave Japan 72 hours to come up with the money. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The video, which is being examined for authenticity, has some echoes of previous ISIS...

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...

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouCnd73OaeE 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. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it's a symbol of Turkey's important and growing role in the region and beyond. But aside from the staggering size and cost, some Turks are wondering...

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. Tehran businessman Iliya Zakeri, reached via Skype, says bread prices are up about 30 percent, just when...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Negotiators trying to limit Iran's nuclear program say they need more time for a long-term deal. But they do have a deal to extend the temporary agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, officials say real progress has been made in Vienna. But it's not clear that will appease critics of the talks. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Before these...

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

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...

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. Sultan Qaboos, as he's universally known here, is still dominating the national conversation several days after his...

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. But IRNA also reports that demonstrators...

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 ...

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. It's called...

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. At a park in the shadow of the Urfa fortress, Ahmed Askar, a 29-year-old commander recounts his...

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. Each day, cars and vans carrying Kobani residents, Turkish Kurds and journalists climb over the rock-strewn paths on the edge of plowed fields, avoiding Turkish military roadblocks to reach the hills overlooking the Syrian border and the town of Kobani....

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." He said the...

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. In a long white funeral tent in Deraboun, a haphazard collection of makeshift encampments lining the road to Syria, Omar's father, Khalil Omar Khalifa, sits with...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARUN RATH, HOST: In Iraq, radical Sunni fighters calling themselves the Islamic State or Isis have suffered a rare defeat. Iraqi and Kurdish forces broke a nearly 80-day siege on the town of Amerli, where residents have enough food and water today for the first time in weeks. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Erbil that the victory showed the kind of cooperative effort some analysts believe could reverse the Islamic State's...

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

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. But glimpses have emerged. This week, the United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, presented details of a massacre that took place at the city's Badoush prison in June. Islamic State fighters seized more than 1,000 inmates. The group spared the lives of their fellow Sunni Muslims, but gunned down some 670 people. It's been too...

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. But these days, most of Al-Qosh is as silent as the 6th-century monastery overlooking the village from a hill. A few Kurdish security men guard the entrance to the village, primarily concerned with keeping...

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