The Icelandic ambassador to the US, Helgi Agustsson, defended his country’s decision to grant former chess great Bobby Fischer citizenship in an editorial that ran in yesterday’s Washington Post.
Responding to a March 28th editorial by the Washington Post titled “Shame on Iceland”, Agustsson explained that Iceland strongly disagreed with Fischer’s racist and anti-American remarks, pointing out the Iceland has long been a friend of the US, and of Israel.
Agustsson also pointed out that Iceland has a long tradition of religious tolerance.
“Humanitarian concern was at the heart of Iceland’s decision to accept Mr. Fischer’s request for citizenship,” Agustsson wrote.
Fischer was being held in a Japanese prison when Iceland secured his release by granting him citizenship. Fischer had been jailed since last July when he attempted to travel from Japan with a revoked US passport.
Fischer, called a fugitive by the US government, is wanted for violating UN sanctions by playing a chess match in the former Yugoslavia in 1992.
Fischer is currently living in Iceland.