Iranian Refugee Granted Citizenship - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iranian Refugee Granted Citizenship

Published December 15, 2011

After waiting nearly eight years and fearing deportation, Iranian refugee Medhi Kavyanpoor has been granted Icelandic citizenship.
Medhi’s struggle has been a long one. After being arrested and tortured in his native Iran, he fled the country with the help of a smuggler, arriving in Iceland without documentation. He has since spent most of his time at Fit Hostel in Keflavík, like many refugees, waiting for an answer. Icelandic authorities continued to be unsatisfied with the evidence for his case, repeatedly saying that he could not prove that his life would be in danger if sent to Iran.
Things became so desperate for him that, earlier this year, he went to the offices of the Red Cross and threatened to set himself on fire if he did not receive an answer about his status.
“You are not from a war-torn country”, he told Kolfinna Baldvínsdóttir shortly after the incident. “You come from a small, peaceful country, and therefore you cannot understand, but sometimes you simply have to stand up for yourself. You cannot harm other people, but your own life—well, if it doesn’t have any meaning, you better take it. In the situation I’m in, it is my only weapon. I don’t have anything else.”
However, Medhi’s struggle would seem to have come to a close. Of the 24 people the Icelandic parliament has newly granted citizenship, he is among them.
We at the Grapevine wish Medhi our sincerest congratulations and hope he can make a home of our country at last.


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