February 28, 2008 | 11:29 pm
Posted by Karmel Melamed
California State Assemblymember Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) made national headlines last year by introducing a landmark state legislation signed into law late last year that required state pension funds to divest an estimated $24 billion from nearly 30companies doing business with Iran. The bill, known as AB 221, was unanimously passed by both the California State Senate and Assembly. It was essentially a catalyst for other states to follow suit with similar Iran divestment bills. On January 8th of this year, Anderson continued his quest to hurt the Iranian regime in their pocketbooks with the introduction of the new Assembly Concurrent Resolution 79 (ACR 79). I recently chatted with him and he shed light on this resolution that is quite similar to AB 221:
”Assembly Concurrent Resolution 79 calls upon the University of California to follow the spirit of what the Legislature expressed in its unanimous passage of AB 221. With the University’s retirement plan portfolio worth more than $44 billion, it is possible that as many as $2 billion are invested in Iran , supporting the economy that powers the regime in Iran. However, divesting of the risk associated with funding business in Iran at this time will help University investments avoid the danger of national and international sanctions. Not only is that fiscally responsible, but as a matter of human rights, it is simply the right thing to do. Compassionate and forward-thinking global leadership defines California.” - California Assemblymember Joel Anderson
While ARC 79 is merely a symbolic piece of legislation that urges the University of California to divest from companies working with Iran, the resolution no doubt will wake the system’s Regents and other state offices to stop the flow of funds that are indirectly keeping the economy of Iran alive. Surprisingly, Iranian Americans of various faiths have supported this resolution across the board because it is yet another excellent example of how Americans and their elected officials on the state level can apply pressure to the notorious regime in Iran. Kudos to Anderson for working across the aisle with Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento to push forward the type of legislation which sends a clear message that Californians will not stand by idle and indirectly fund Iran’s regime that exports terrorism worldwide and is on a quest to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons!
In June 2007, Los Angeles became the first city in the country to approve its own Iran divestment measure. In May 2007, Florida became the first state to pass legislation to bar $1 billion in pension funds from being invested in companies doing business with Iran and Sudan.
Again and again experts and opposition groups within Iran have indicated that the best way to topple the regime in Tehran to go after it’s weak economy. The Iranian mullahs cannot be negotiated with contrary to what certain presidential candidates have proposed because the regime ideologically wants the destruction of Israel, the U.S. and any other country that does not conform to their radical Shiite Islamic beliefs. Economic isolation by the world through divestment no doubt puts the squeeze on the Iranian government and has proven to be the best weapon in curbing their misbehavior.
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