iconv doesn't understand what "latin1" is
I ran into this while trying to compile R.
checking for iconv.h... yes checking for iconv... yes checking whether iconv accepts "UTF-8", "latin1", "ASCII" and "UCS-*"... no configure: error: a suitable iconv is essential
Manually running iconv with various from encodings indicates that "latin1" is unknown encoding. It should be an alias for iso8859-1 (perhaps a symlink in /usr/lib/iconv?).