Peter Kenyon

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Iran's foreign minister claims Israel is behind an attack that damaged an Iranian nuclear facility on Sunday. He says Iran reserves the right to respond to what it calls an act of nuclear terrorism. Here's NPR's Peter Kenyon.

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ISTANBUL — After a weekend visit to Tehran by Rafael Grossi, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the agency and Iran announced their agreement to keep some verification activities going for the immediate future.

Iran had previously announced that, as of Tuesday, Feb. 23, it would suspend snap inspections by IAEA inspectors. Such unscheduled visits were seen by some as an effective means of verifying that Iran wasn't pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

In response to the Biden administration's offer to the rejoin nuclear talks, Iran says the U.S. must lift all sanctions before Tehran dials back its uranium enrichment efforts.

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Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

The United States and Iran remain at odds over what comes next in their standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran's supreme leader said Sunday that all U.S. sanctions must be lifted before Tehran will return to its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal. And, in an interview airing Sunday, President Biden said the United States won't lift sanctions first.

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In Iran, a medical study last year found nearly 1 in 5 people there had contracted the coronavirus. NPR's Peter Kenyon has been calling Iranians. He's been asking them about the pandemic and their government's response to it.

In a move likely to increase tensions during President Trump's final weeks in office, Iranian semi-official media are reporting Tehran is enriching nuclear fuel to 20% purity. Separately, Iran seized a South Korean oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Monday.

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Tensions between Turkey and France are rising, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a boycott on French good and slams French President Emmanuel Macron's call for a "French Islam."

The increased friction follows the beheading of a teacher in France after he showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

President Trump's relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had its ups and downs. NPR discusses what might happen to the U.S.-Turkey relationship if Joe Biden wins the election.

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Thousands of people attended prayers at Istanbul's historic Hagia Sophia on Friday, completing the famous building's conversion from a secular space into a Muslim house of worship. It had been a museum for more than 86 years.

The crowd was large with people spilling outside and into a plaza and grassy areas near the sixth century building that is revered by both Muslims and Christians. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sat front and center, removing a white face mask to recite passages from the Quran as he sat on a blue carpet.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Hagia Sophia museum, one of Istanbul's most famous landmarks, to be converted into a mosque.

He made the announcement on Friday, hours after a top court cleared the way for him to make the change.

The Hagia Sophia, a major draw for tourists, has a long and complicated history. The architectural marvel was built as a church by the Byzantines in the 6th century and then converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

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Turkey has a serious coronavirus problem. So why has the country donated 50 planeloads of medical equipment abroad? Here's NPR's Peter Kenyon.

The bad coronavirus news continues for Iran, but officials are hoping a modest downturn in the growth of new cases will become a trend.

Iranian state television reported Thursday that 1,030 new cases had been confirmed and 90 people had died since Wednesday. That brought the total number of fatalities in Iran to 5,481, continuing Iran's status as the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the virus. But the new daily case numbers are lower than previous days, raising hopes that Iran may be turning the corner in its fight against the virus.

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