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Obama Urges Swift Senate Passage of Iran Divestment Legislation


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act (H.R. 2347/S. 1430), legislation he sponsored in May. The bill would clear the way for more states to divest their pension funds from companies that support Iran's oil and gas industry. Iran uses the revenue it generates from its energy sector to finance its pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terrorist groups.

The statement is below:

"Today's passage of the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act by the House of Representatives is an important step forward in our efforts to stop Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons it seeks. Allowing a radical theocracy that sponsors terrorism and threatens its neighbors to possess such dangerous weapons is a risk we cannot afford to take."

"Together with our allies, we need to do much more to ratchet up the economic pressure on Iran, in order to convince it not to go down this road. In addition to a sustained diplomatic effort and stronger international sanctions, we have the ability to take more action unilaterally. Citizens in many states have taken matters into their own hands, moving to divest their pension funds of companies that support Iran's oil and gas industry, which provides the revenue Iran uses to pursue nuclear weapons and sponsor terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas."

"Since I introduced this legislation in May, along with Chairman Barney Frank in the House, Florida has enacted a divestment law, the Illinois legislature has passed a divestment bill that awaits the governor's signature, and California is moving in the same direction. Many other states are at various stages of this process."

"The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, once enacted, will provided needed information about which companies are supporting Iran's energy industry, clarify that state and local governments have the authority to divest of such companies, and provide legal protection for those governments that wish to do so."

"I am very encouraged by this important step forward in our campaign to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. I will work closely with the Senate leadership and my colleagues to get this bill passed and to the President's desk as quickly as possible."

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