US Threatens Sanctions on Iceland Over Whaling
Obama administration will consider trade and diplomatic penalties
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2011 1:27 PM CDT
The tails of two 35-ton fin whales are bound to a boat on June 19, 2009 after being caught off the coast of Hvalfjsrour, north of Reykjavik, on the western coast of Iceland.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The US is set to announce possible trade and diplomatic sanctions against Iceland for ramping up its whale hunts despite an international moratorium on commercial whaling. The Obama administration will cite Iceland under a domestic law that allows the president to act against foreign nationals or countries who flout international animal conservation rules, say US officials. After today's announcement, the president has 60 days to decide on sanctions. Sometimes, the threat alone is enough to make targeted countries change their practices.

The move comes less than a week after the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission stalled in discord between pro-whaling nations such as Iceland and Japan and their opponents. Iceland, Norway, and Japan continue to hunt whales despite a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. The US is particularly concerned about Iceland's escalated hunt for endangered fin whales and its recent resumption of exports of whale meat to other pro-whaling nations.