Obama Urges Congress to Clear Way For More States to Pass Iran Divestment Legislation
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today called on Congress to pass legislation that would clear the way for more states to divest their pension funds from businesses with assets in Iran. In May, Obama introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act (S. 1430), which empowers Americans to apply economic pressure on the Iranian regime by establishing a federal list of entities that invest in Iran and allowing for divestment. This legislation would enable investors and state and local governments to ensure they are not invested in companies that support Iran's oil and gas industry.
"The need for these laws is clear," said Senator Obama. "Iran uses the revenue it generates from its energy sector to finance its pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Along with a sustained diplomatic effort and toughened multilateral sanctions on Iran, divestment is a useful tool that state and local governments can use to increase economic pressure to persuade Iran to end its dangerous policies."
"In the past, Supreme Court decisions have called into question whether states have the constitutional authority to pass such laws. For that reason, Congress needs to pass the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, S. 1430, which I introduced in May. This bill would clarify that states have the authority to pass divestment legislation with respect to Iran, and provide information from the federal government to make it easier for them to do so. I am proud that fourteen of my colleagues have cosponsored this bill so far, but Iran's seeming unbridled drive for nuclear weapons makes this a matter of considerable urgency. I urge the rest of my colleagues to join us in working to pass this legislation without delay."