REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A furious Icelandic government today suspended the island's whale catch to avoid what it said were U.S. plans to impose a crippling boycott on Icelandic fish products, the country's main source of income.
Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermansson said it was only under strong U.S. government pressure that he had asked the whalers to stop, and he accused Washington of using high-handed methods against a friend and NATO ally.
"Theirs was an intolerable and flagrant intervention into the internal affairs of this nation," Hermansson told Reuters, adding that U.S. threats to take action against Iceland had put the whole island's future in jeopardy.
Fisheries Minister Halldor Asgrimsson said Iceland would have to reconsider its relationship with the United States.
Iceland is the only unarmed member of NATO and its defense, under a 1951 agreement with the United States, is in the hands of 3,000 U.S. servicemen stationed at the Keflavik base in the east of the island.
Norway said last month that it would abandon commercial whaling beginning next year after U.S. threats to boycott Norwegian fish exports but vowed to continue "limited scientific whaling."