In a candid interview with RÚV, former Iranian refugee – and recently-made Icelandic citizen – Medhi Kavyanpoor shared his thoughts on what this new legal status means for him, and the changes it will have on his life.
Medhi came to Iceland as a refugee about eight years ago, fleeing possible torture and execution in Iran. During his time here, his legal status had been in a state of limbo: Icelandic authorities were for a long time unconvinced that he qualified for refugee status, but also felt they could not deport him to Iran. The frustration he experienced during this wait culminated in him going to the offices of the Red Cross last spring and threatening to set himself on fire.
Last week, however, he was finally granted citizenship.
“I feel free for the first time, and am overjoyed about it,” he told RÚV. “I really appreciate that the Icelandic government gave me this opportunity, and will use it as best I can.”
Medhi says he intends to meet his family, whom he has not seen in seven years, in Turkey. He hopes that some day he can brings his family to Iceland.
“I can’t express how I feel inside,” he said in closing, “And I have my friends to thank for all of this, for the help they’ve given me.”