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.

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World
3:02 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 12:17 pm

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
6:14 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

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
5:50 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 6:41 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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Asia
4:09 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 10:35 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
3:50 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 5:19 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
3:06 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The Cost Of Women's Rights In Northwest Pakistan

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 8:31 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
3:39 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 4:45 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
6:26 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Pakistan Will Reopen NATO Supply Lines

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
5:43 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 8:25 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
2:56 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 2:07 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
4:10 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 8:26 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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Middle East
3:05 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Facing Tougher Sanctions, Iran Enters Nuclear Talks

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during Iran's Nuclear Technology Day at the presidential palace in Tehran, Iran, on April 8.
UPI/Landov

For the first time in more than a year, diplomats from Iran will meet with representatives from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany.

The meeting, to be held in Istanbul this weekend, will focus on Iran's controversial nuclear program.

When similar talks have taken place in the past, Iranian officials tended to use the sessions to complain about the ways the U.S. and the West have treated Iran badly, and little actual negotiating got done.

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Asia
4:04 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

N. Korea May Stage Nuclear Test After Rocket Launch

A concert in Pyongyang in February 2012 commemorates the birthday of North Korea's late leader, Kim Jong Il. The backdrop shows a North Korean rocket that was launched in April 2009 — and was followed a month later by a nuclear test.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 8:51 pm

As North Korea reaches the final stage of preparations for a long-range rocket launch, concern is growing that it is in the early stages of preparing its underground test site for another nuclear explosion.

Pyongyang established the pattern three years ago when it tested a similar rocket and then followed it a month later with a nuclear test.

This time around, there may be a more urgent need to test a nuclear device. The bomb is very likely the result of a significant expansion of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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Asia
3:53 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Is North Korea Changing — Or Resisting Change?

In a photo released by North Korea's Korean Central Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (third from right) and other senior leaders attend a memorial service in Pyongyang, March 25, marking the 100th day since the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong Il. North Korea has been sending the world mixed messages since the death of the elder Kim.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 11:05 pm

Recent developments in North Korea are puzzling watchers of the "Hermit Kingdom" in both the U.S. and South Korea.

There are some signs of change within the new leadership in North Korea — and there are signs of resistance to change as well.

When he was in Seoul, South Korea, last week, President Obama said he didn't know who is calling the shots in Pyongyang, which is making it difficult to determine what's next for North Korea.

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Asia
1:33 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Obama Asks China To Help Halt N. Korean Rocket

President Obama greets Chinese President Hu Jintao at the start of their meeting in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday. The U.S. president asked the Chinese leader to use his influence with North Korean to discourage that country from launching a rocket next month.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

President Obama came to South Korea to talk about global nuclear security with world leaders, but found himself trying to build a unified front against North Korea's planned rocket launch next month.

Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak strenuously warned North Korea not to go ahead with the launch. In a speech Monday at the summit in Seoul, Obama used some of the toughest language he has ever used addressed to the leaders of North Korea.

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