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Massachusetts pension board completes Iran divestment

JTA

January 4, 2012 | 10:19 am

The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management board announced that it divested all holdings in companies tied to Iran’s energy industry.

The divestment, announced Tuesday in a news release, fulfilled a state law encouraging PRIM to pressure Iran to cease its nuclear weapons program in the Persian Gulf.

“I’m pleased to report that the Iran divestiture was completed on time and in compliance with the law,” said PRIM Executive Director Michael Trotsky.

“Our prompt response to the call to divest sends a clear signal that the actions of Iran will not be tolerated on the international stage or in the boardroom,” said Steven Grossman, Massachusetts state treasurer, and chair of the PRIM board. “Targeted sanctions on Iran offer the best prospect for deterring the Iranian aggression that threatens the security of the United States and its allies, including Israel.”

The divestment became official on Dec. 30, 2011. In the aftermath of the divestment, some companies severed their own ties with Iran and were subsequently dropped from PRIM’s restricted list.

“This is proof positive that sanctions work,” said Grossman. “Major corporations changed their behavior in response to the prohibitions, resulting in increased economic pressure on Iran.”

A number of other pension funds are reportedly severing ties with Iran, but Massachusetts was the first state to fully divest.

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