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Iceland–United States relations

Iceland–United States relations
Map indicating locations of Iceland and USA


United States

Iceland–United States relations are bilateral relations between the Republic of Iceland and the United States of America. Both Iceland and the U.S. are NATO allies.

According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 17% of Icelanders approve of U.S. leadership, with 25% disapproving and 58% uncertain.[1]


  • Overview 1
  • Economic relations 2
  • Iceland's membership in international organizations 3
  • Diplomatic visits 4
  • U.S. embassy in Iceland 5
  • Embassy of Iceland in the U.S. 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The United States military established a presence in Iceland and around its waters after the Nazi occupation of Denmark (even before the U.S. entered WWII) in order to deny Nazi Germany access to its strategically important location (which would have been considered a threat to the Western Hemisphere).

The Naval Air Station Keflavik closed and the two countries signed a technical agreement on base closure issues (e.g., facilities return, environmental cleanup, residual value) and a "joint understanding" on future bilateral security cooperation (focusing on defending Iceland and the North Atlantic region against emerging threats such as terrorism and trafficking). The United States also worked with local officials to mitigate the impact of job losses at the Air Station, notably by encouraging U.S. investment in industry and tourism development in the Keflavik area. Cooperative activities in the context of the new agreements have included joint search and rescue, disaster surveillance, and maritime interdiction training with U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard units; and U.S. deployments to support the NATO air surveillance mission in Iceland.

The U.S.–Icelandic relationship is founded on cooperation and mutual support. The two countries share a commitment to individual freedom, human rights, and democracy. U.S. policy aims to maintain close, cooperative relations with Iceland, both as a NATO ally interested in the shared objectives of enhancing world peace; respect for human rights; economic development; arms control; and law enforcement cooperation, including the fight against terrorism, narcotics, and human trafficking. The United States and Iceland work together on a wide range of issues from enhancing peace and stability in Afghanistan (Iceland is part of the ISAF coalition), to harnessing new green energy sources, to ensuring peaceful cooperation in the Arctic.

Economic relations

The United States seeks to strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations. Most of Iceland's exports go to the European Union and the European Free Trade Association countries, followed by the United States and Japan. The U.S. is one of the largest foreign investors in Iceland, primarily in the aluminum sector. The United States and Iceland signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2009.

Iceland's membership in international organizations

Iceland's ties with other World Trade Organization.

Diplomatic visits

President Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to visit Iceland when he visited on May 31, 1973. The only other sitting president to visit Iceland was President Ronald Reagan who attended the Reykjavík Summit in October 1986.

Numerous other U.S. dignitaries have visited Iceland. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at a conference on Women and Democracy in Reykjavik in October 1999. She returned to Iceland as a U.S. senator in August 2004 on a fact-finding trip that also included her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and Senator John McCain. Secretary of State Colin Powell attended a NATO summit in Iceland in May 2002, and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, visited the country in May 2008.

The U.S. maintains an embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Icelandic diplomats have also visited the United States on several occasions. Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson attended a technology summit hosted by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in October 2007. He also met with Maine Gov. Paul LePage at an international trade summit in Portland, Maine in May 2013.

U.S. embassy in Iceland

Principal U.S. officials include:

  • Ambassador--Vacant
  • Charge D'Affairs–Paul O'Friel
  • Deputy Chief of Mission—Neil Klopfenstein
  • Political Officer—Brad Evans
  • Economic/Commercial Officer—Fiona Evans
  • Management Officer—Richard Johnson
  • Information Management Officer—Ted Cross
  • Public Affairs Officer—Robert Domaingue
  • Consular Officer—Amiee McGimpsey
  • Regional Security Officer—Peter A. Dinoia

Embassy of Iceland in the U.S.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).[1]

  1. ^ U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup

External links

  • History of Iceland - U.S. relations
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