The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland has informed the Government of the United States that nuclear-powered submarines of the US Navy will be authorised to make a brief service visit in Iceland to receive supplies and exchange crew members. This decision by the Minister for Foreign Affairs is part of the Icelandic government's policy to support increased monitoring and response capacity of Allied countries in the North Atlantic.
The first submarine will make a visit in the near future. The boat will be serviced a few kilometres off the coast but will not make port calls. Similar types of submarines make regular visit allied countries, including for many decades in ports in Norway and recently in the Faroe Islands.
These service visits will contribute to strengthening the continuous and active submarine surveillance of allied countries, which ensures better situational awareness and increases the safety of underwater infrastructure such as submarine cables in the waters around Iceland. The frequency of visits will depend on the need at any given time.
The Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasize that it is a condition for the arrival of allied warships in the country that the governments of the respective countries both know and respect the provisions of Iceland's national security policy that Iceland, and its territorial waters are declared free from nuclear weapons, subject to international commitments. This position has been reiterated in a note from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the US Government.The submarines that are permitted to make service call do not carry nuclear weapons according to US policy and are not equipped to do so.
In recent years, the Icelandic and US governments have increased cooperation to strengthen situational awareness and readiness in the North Atlantic. Iceland has from some time provided host nation support for US ASW aircrafts and other allies at Keflavik Air Base. The support, which is now provided by supporting service call by submarines, is part of Iceland defence commitments and an important contribution to allied security.