Peter Kenyon | WGLT

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.

Tensions continue to rise between the United States and Iran following last week's sharp escalation in which Tehran downed a U.S. drone and the U.S. conducted cyberattacks against an Iranian intelligence group.

On Monday, President Trump announced financial sanctions against Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and several other top officials.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected the U.S. accusations, tweeting that the Trump administration "immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran [without] a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence."

In an earlier tweet, Zarif hinted at a conspiracy, noting that the tankers, one owned by a Japanese firm, occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired," he wrote.

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Turkey has been governed for most of the past two decades by a party steeped in political Islam. So when a pollster recently surveyed personal beliefs, there was a finding that stood out: Levels of piety were flat, or even declining, compared with a decade ago.

The apparent shift is not seismic, but it has Turks talking about where their country is headed.

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Iranians are keeping an eye on the #MeToo movement. Activists fighting sexual harassment say a Farsi version of the hashtag #MeToo can be found on social media, but because of government censorship, it is far from widespread.

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Iran's economy is struggling. U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, banking and other sectors have tightened. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that Iranians blame the Trump administration but also their government and even themselves.

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One of candidate Donald Trump's pledges during the 2016 election campaign was to get tougher on Iran. He slammed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as a lopsided giveaway to Tehran, and promised a return of American sanctions on Iran.

President Trump has been true to his word, making 2018 a difficult year for Iran.

Although other countries have stuck with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed with Iran, Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in May and announced that U.S. economic sanctions on Iran would return in two phases.

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Tension is rising between Iran and the United States these days. But Iran's leaders are facing pressure from various sides at home, too.

Ordinary Iranians are mounting protests that refuse to go away, despite a sharp response from the authorities.

The demonstrations began to make news late last year, focusing largely on economic hardship. As those protests continued in cities around the country, another movement re-emerged: young women standing up against the enforcement of conservative Muslim strictures on their dress and behavior.

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Two years after a military uprising failed to topple Turkey's leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a tighter grip on power than ever. A three-month state of emergency imposed after the military's July 2016, coup attempt was extended multiple times, but was allowed to expire last week.

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On Sunday, voters in Turkey will go to the polls in snap elections called by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. These elections weren't supposed to be held until 2019, but Erdogan moved them forward by more than a year in hopes of catching the opposition flat-footed.

Here's a look at what's at stake.

Who's running?

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