Mike Shuster

Mike Shuster is an award-winning diplomatic correspondent and roving foreign correspondent for NPR News. He is based at NPR West, in Culver City, CA. When not traveling outside the U.S., Shuster covers issues of nuclear non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and the Pacific Rim.

In recent years, Shuster has helped shape NPR’s extensive coverage of the Middle East as one of the leading reporters to cover this region – traveling in the spring of 2007 to Iraq to cover the increased deployment of American forces in Baghdad. He has traveled frequently to Iran – seven times since 2004 – to report on Iran's nuclear program and political changes there. He has also reported frequently from Israel, covering the 2006 war with Hezbollah, the pullout from Gaza in 2005 and the second intifada that erupted in 2000. His 2007 week-long series "The Partisans of Ali" explored the history of Shi'ite faith and politics, providing a rare, comprehensive look at the complexities of the Islamic religion and its impact on the Western world.

Shuster has won numerous awards for his reporting. He was part of the NPR News team to be recognized with a Peabody Award for coverage of September 11th and its aftermath. He was also part of the NPR News teams to receive Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for coverage of the Iraq War (2007 and 2004); September 11th and the war in Afghanistan (2003); and the Gulf War (1992). In 2003, Shuster was honored for his series "The Middle East: A Century of Conflict" with an Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award and First in Documentary Reporting from the National Headliner Awards. He also received an honorable mention from the Overseas Press Club in 1999, and the SAJA Journalism Award in 1998.

Through his reporting for NPR, Shuster has also taken listeners to India and Pakistan, the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, and the Congo. He was NPR's senior Moscow correspondent in the early 1990s, when he covered the collapse of the Soviet Union and a wide range of political, economic, and social issues in Russia and the other independent states of the former Soviet Union.

From September 1989 to June 1991, Shuster was stationed in England as senior editor of NPR's London Bureau. For two months in early 1991, he was assigned to Saudi Arabia to cover the Gulf War. While at the London Bureau, Shuster also covered the unification of Germany, from the announcement of the opening of the Berlin Wall to the establishment of a single currency for that country. He traveled to Germany monthly during this time to trace the revolution there, from euphoria over the freedom to travel, to the decline of the Communist Party, to the newly independent country's first free elections.

Before moving to London, Shuster worked as a reporter and bureau chief at NPR New York, and an editor of Weekend All Things Considered. He joined NPR in 1980 as a freelance reporter covering business and the economy.

Prior to coming to NPR, Shuster was a United Nations correspondent for Pacifica News Service, during which he covered the 1980 election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. He traveled throughout Africa as a freelance foreign affairs reporter in 1970 and again in 1976; on this latter trip, Shuster spent five months covering Angolan civil war and its aftermath.

World
2:02 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

To Combat Sanctions, Iran Buys Up Gold

Iranian women look at a jewelry shop display in Tehran, Iran, in 2010. Iran now appears to be stockpiling gold in an attempt to stabilize its economy, which has been hit hard by Western sanctions.
Atta Lenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:17 am

Iran is stockpiling gold. That's the way David Cohen sees it. He's undersecretary of the Treasury, and the Treasury's point man for the banking sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Iran.

"Iran is attempting to hoard gold, both by acquiring it and by preventing the export of gold from Iran, in a somewhat desperate attempt to try and defend the value of its currency," Cohen says.

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Middle East
3:29 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Signals From Iran Indicate Willingness To Talk

An Iranian boy holds a tray of eggs at a grocery store in Tehran last month. From Sunday, Sept. 30, to Monday, Oct. 1, the Iranian currency lost nearly one-third of its value against the dollar.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:50 pm

Iran is hurting. Economic and banking sanctions, plus an effective oil embargo led by the European Union, have brought chaos to Iran's economy. The bottom fell out of its currency, the rial, a couple of weeks ago, provoking street protests. Iranians of all social classes are struggling to cope.

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Middle East
3:47 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Panic Rises In Iran As Currency Plunges To New Lows

An Iranian man checks the rates of foreign currencies at a currency exchange bureau in central Tehran on Sept. 29. The Iranian currency lost nearly one-third of its value in a day over the weekend.
Maryam Rahmanian UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Large crowds of anxious Iranians gathered in Tehran on Sunday and Monday at foreign exchange offices — some of which had shuttered their doors — as Iran's currency continues its free fall.

From Sunday to Monday, the rial lost nearly one-third of its value against the dollar — and the decline appears to have continued Tuesday.

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Middle East
4:53 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

As Sanctions Take A Toll, Debate In Iran Heats Up

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Tehran in July. Khamenei says Western-led sanctions will not force Iran to change its policies, but there are signs of other concerned voices in Iran.
AP

Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 5:41 pm

Yukiya Amano is frustrated.

Last week, Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told a meeting of the agency in Vienna that he is aggravated by Iran's unwillingness to show the IAEA what's going on at a base called Parchin.

"Iran should engage with us without further delay on the substance of our concerns," he said. "We need to stop going around in circles, discussing process."

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Middle East
3:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Another Round Of Iranian Nuclear Talks To Begin

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:48 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program are set to intensify in the coming days. Tomorrow in Vienna, authorities from the International Atomic Energy Agency meet again with Iranian representatives. They'll discuss some past suspicious nuclear activities. Next week, other talks involving the United States, Europe, Russia and China are set to resume.

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Middle East
2:11 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

From All Sides, Iran Under Siege

Iranians walk through the main bazaar in Tehran in January. Sanctions by the EU and U.S., plus political woes related to the Syrian uprising, have created the most serious crisis faced by Tehran since the 1980s.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Iran appears to be facing a crisis more serious than anything it has experienced since its war with Iraq in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, President Bashar Assad's regime is under threat from the widening war in Syria, Iran's sole ally in the Arab world. Domestically, the European oil embargo and U.S. banking sanctions are undermining the Iranian economy, bringing inflation, food shortages and unemployment.

Iran is trying to maintain a defiant posture, without much success.

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Asia
3:09 am
Thu July 26, 2012

In Pakistan, Sounds Of A Different Kind Of Drone

Ibrahim Ahmad, the son of the owner of the Imperial Bagpipe Manufacturing Co., tests a bagpipe at a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan. The Pakistani city is the largest producer of the instruments most commonly associated with Scotland.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Bagpipes and Scotland? Aye, it's a natural association: Played for centuries, the instrument is especially identified with the Scottish military and traditional Scottish dress, tartan kilts and shawls.

But bagpipes and Pakistan? Nae, you say? Think again.

Turns out no place in the world manufactures more bagpipes than Pakistan. And no city in Pakistan makes more of them than Sialkot.

Bagpipe Central

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World
2:50 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

It's Deja Vu As Pakistan's Political Crisis Deepens

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is greeted after his election in June. Just weeks later, many Pakistanis expect the nation's Supreme Court may soon attempt to force Ashraf from his position, as it did his predecessor.
Rizwan Tabassum Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 4:19 pm

An ongoing political crisis has left Pakistan's government paralyzed and near collapse, as the country's Supreme Court attempts to revive corruption charges against the president in an apparent effort to force his resignation.

Accusations of corruption have always clouded the reputation of President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Some time ago, the government of Switzerland opened an investigation into Zardari's financial dealings, but the case was closed with no action taken.

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World
2:06 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The Cost Of Women's Rights In Northwest Pakistan

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:31 pm

Earlier this month, 25-year-old Farida Afridi, who ran an organization that provides information for women about their rights, was gunned down in the street, near the city of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. No one has been arrested for this killing. In all likelihood no one will be.

On July 4, Afridi was leaving her home to go to her office in Peshawar. What happened next shocked the local community, says Zar Ali Khan, who heads a consortium of activist groups in Peshawar.

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Asia
2:39 am
Wed July 11, 2012

'Hard Questions' Remain In U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Pakistani border guards check trucks heading to Afghanistan, in the tribal area of Khyber last week.
Qazi Rauf AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 3:45 am

A U.S. operation in the mountains near Afghanistan last November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan wanted an apology. The U.S. refused. In response, Pakistan shut down supply routes to Afghanistan for NATO convoys.

After intense talks, two border crossings were reopened last week to convoys for the U.S. and NATO forces.

Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, Sherry Rehman, was at the center of the negotiations. Afterward she called it a moment of great opportunity for the two countries.

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Asia
4:08 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Pakistan Will Reopen NATO Supply Lines

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 5:26 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Pakistan and the United States have reached agreement to reopen the strategic land supply routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Pakistan closed those routes last November after a U.S. attack left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. Pakistan had wanted a formal apology from the U.S. but the administration refused because it believed American troops had come under fire first from the Pakistani side. But yesterday, Secretary of State Clinton made comments that finally broke the logjam.

NPR's Mike Shuster has more from Islamabad.

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Middle East
4:36 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Iran's Nuclear Fatwa: A Policy Or A Ploy?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech under a portrait of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on June 2. The supreme leader has said repeatedly that nuclear weapons are un-Islamic and Iran will not pursue them. But in the West, many are skeptical.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 7:25 pm

It's been an article of faith for nearly a decade that Iran's supreme leader issued a fatwa — a religious edict — that nuclear weapons are a sin and Iran has no intention of acquiring them.

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently made references to this religious commitment from Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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Middle East
1:56 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Planned E.U. Oil Embargo Looks Set To Squeeze Iran

Iranians line up at a gas station to fuel their motorcycles in central Tehran in February. Oil is the lifeblood of Iran's economy, but the planned EU boycott is expected to deal a major blow to Iranian oil exports.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 1:07 pm

On July 1, the European Union says it will stop buying oil from Iran. Europe is one of the most important markets for Iran's oil, and in anticipation of the boycott, Iranian oil exports worldwide are already down by more than 25 percent.

Iran's leaders say they can weather this pressure, and so far they have refused to budge on their controversial nuclear activities, ones that prompted a series of economic sanctions.

As a result, it appears as if Iran will only face even greater difficulties when it comes to exporting oil, the lifeblood of its economy.

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Europe
2:33 am
Fri May 25, 2012

To Tap Arctic Oil, Russia Partners With Exxon Mobil

A Rosneft flag flies over the Russian oil giant's refinery near the city of Samara. Growth of Russia's oil and gas output has stalled, but Exxon Mobil and other foreign firms have signed deals to help exploit the Arctic.
Nikolay Korchekov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 9:09 am

Russia is still the world's largest producer of oil and gas, but growth has stalled and to get to new supplies requires going to a very difficult place — the Arctic.

"If you want to be in this business in 2020, 2025, you must think about the Arctic," says Konstantin Simonov, head of the National Energy Security Fund in Moscow.

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World
4:17 pm
Sun May 20, 2012

In This Russian Trial, The Defendant Is A Dead Man

Friends and relatives take part in the funeral ceremony of Sergei Magnitsky at a cemetery in Moscow in 2009. The tax lawyer was arrested after he began investigating fraud at Hermitage Capital, which had been seized by the Russian tax police. He later died in prison.
Mikhail Voskresensky Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun May 20, 2012 6:45 pm

The Russian government is about to put a dead man on trial.

Sergei Magnitsky was a tax lawyer for the investment fund Hermitage Capital, at one time the largest foreign investment firm in Russia.

In 2007, Hermitage Capital was seized by the Russian tax police, and through a number of shady maneuvers, they extracted more than $230 million in illegal tax refunds for themselves.

Magnitsky decided to investigate, angering those who had stolen the company. They had him arrested, and he died in prison in 2009.

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Europe
2:39 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

For A Third Time, Putin Returns As Russia's President

Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office during his inauguration as Russia's president at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Monday. Putin will be serving his third term as president, after four years as prime minister and two previous presidential terms.
Dmitry Astakhov, AP

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 7:26 am

Vladimir Putin is once again the president of Russia.

Putin, who held the job from 2000 to 2008, spent the past four years as prime minister because the Russian Constitution prohibits a third consecutive term.

So his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, held the office for the past four years. Now they are switching places, with Putin returning as president and Medvedev tapped to be the prime minister.

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Europe
4:56 am
Sun May 6, 2012

For Putin's Third Term As President, A New Russia

Vladimir Putin, currently prime minister, begins his third term as Russia's president on Monday.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 7:38 pm

On Monday, Vladimir Putin will again become president of Russia. When he is inaugurated in the Kremlin, it will be for a third term, even though the Russian constitution limits presidents to two four-year terms.

The restriction, however, is for two consecutive terms. It doesn't rule out a third term if someone else holds the presidency in the interim. That's exactly what Dmitri Medvedev did. He was elected president after Putin, but declined a run for a second term.

This political swap succeeded, but Putin will be leading a different Russia after his re-inauguration.

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