Iceland

Nuclear-weapon endorser

Has not yet joined the TPNW

Summary

Iceland has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

National position

Iceland supports the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated by its endorsement of various alliance statements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), of which it is a member.

Iceland has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the treaty and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

 

Political developments

The prime minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, has pledged to work for her country’s signature and ratification of the treaty. She made this commitment in September 2017, prior to assuming the office of prime minister.

The former Icelandic prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and former foreign ministers Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir and Össur Skarphéðinsson signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on current leaders to “show courage and boldness – and join the treaty”.

In February 2018, a group of Icelandic parliamentarians proposed a motion that the parliament “resolves to entrust the government with ensuring that Iceland accedes to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”. The matter was referred to the foreign affairs committee.

In a submission to the committee, the ministry of foreign affairs of Iceland indicated that it does not support the treaty. A number of organisations, including the Icelandic Red Cross, made submissions in support of the motion. It remains on the parliamentary agenda.

Around 40 per cent of all Icelandic parliamentarians have pledged their support for the treaty. Most are members of the Left–Green Movement, the Social Democratic Alliance, and the Pirate Party.

The prime minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, speaks at an ICAN event in Reykjavík in December 2017. Photo: RCW

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in November 2020 found that 86 per cent of Icelanders believe that their country should join the treaty, with just 3 per cent opposed to joining. Furthermore, 75 per cent believe that Iceland should be among the first NATO states to join, even if it faced pressure from allies not to do so.

 

Treaty negotiations

Iceland did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption.

In 2016, Iceland voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Iceland, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it said that, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them”.

Nuclear-weapon endorser

Has not yet joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Summary

Iceland has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

National position

Iceland supports the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated by its endorsement of various alliance statements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), of which it is a member.

Iceland has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the treaty and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

 

Political developments

The prime minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, has pledged to work for her country’s signature and ratification of the treaty. She made this commitment in September 2017, prior to assuming the office of prime minister.

The former Icelandic prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and former foreign ministers Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir and Össur Skarphéðinsson signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on current leaders to “show courage and boldness – and join the treaty”.

In February 2018, a group of Icelandic parliamentarians proposed a motion that the parliament “resolves to entrust the government with ensuring that Iceland accedes to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”. The matter was referred to the foreign affairs committee.

In a submission to the committee, the ministry of foreign affairs of Iceland indicated that it does not support the treaty. A number of organisations, including the Icelandic Red Cross, made submissions in support of the motion. It remains on the parliamentary agenda.

Around 40 per cent of all Icelandic parliamentarians have pledged their support for the treaty. Most are members of the Left–Green Movement, the Social Democratic Alliance, and the Pirate Party.

The prime minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, speaks at an ICAN event in Reykjavík in December 2017. Photo: RCW

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in November 2020 found that 86 per cent of Icelanders believe that their country should join the treaty, with just 3 per cent opposed to joining. Furthermore, 75 per cent believe that Iceland should be among the first NATO states to join, even if it faced pressure from allies not to do so.

 

Treaty negotiations

Iceland did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption.

In 2016, Iceland voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Iceland, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it said that, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them”.

[PARTNERS]

Samtök hernaðarandstæðingar (Campaign against Militarism) 

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Menningar og friðarsamtökin MFÍK

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