Michele Kelemen

Kelly Craft is expected to take up her job as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. on Thursday. She's a Republican donor and is married to a billionaire coal executive. Craft is likely to take a much lower profile than her predecessor, Nikki Haley.

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This week an American graduate student from Princeton University marked his third anniversary in an Iranian prison. He's one of several Americans held there. His wife came to Washington to call on the Trump administration to do more to free him.

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The U.S. has been backing efforts to topple Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now tells CNN that there was a moment today when it seemed Maduro was ready to leave.

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The State Department this morning is threatening to punish its allies to get at iran - the United States is trying to get other countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

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When President Trump announced in December that he would pull troops out of Syria, he said the U.S. had defeated ISIS there. Today he says the U.S. has almost defeated ISIS.

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The United States will withdraw from a Cold War-era arms control treaty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says talks between the United States and Russia - the parties here have failed because Russia has not agreed to destroy some of its missiles.

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The State Department on Thursday ordered employees to return to work next week, despite the partial government shutdown, saying it would figure out how to cover the next paycheck.

In a note posted on its website and emailed to staff, the department said it "is taking steps to make additional funds available to pay employee salaries."

If the shutdown continues beyond the next pay period, State Department officials say they will have to work with Congress to reprogram funds in order to cover salaries.

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Former UNICEF official Baquer Namazi was detained in Iran nearly three years ago. His son is urging Tehran to let his 82-year-old father leave the country for medical treatment. Namazi is one of several Americans held in Iran.

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Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is stepping down from her post. I'm here now with NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen. Good morning, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Good morning.

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A new State Department visa policy declared that, starting this month, diplomats who want to bring their same-sex partners to the U.S. will have to be married. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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