January 9, 2012

Assembly Passes the Iran Divestment Act of 2012

Legislation Prohibits NYS from Doing Business
that Would Further Acts of Terrorism

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (at podium) and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (next to Silver on right) announced that their respective houses would pass the Iran Divestment Act today, at a Capitol news conference. The bill, sponsored by Silver in the Assembly, prohibits individuals and companies who invest in Iran's energy industries from doing business with New York State and its local governments. Silver called Iran a "terrorist state" and a threat to the United States, Israel and our allies.

Silver also was joined by members of the Assembly Majority, including Assemblymembers: (from the left, first row) Charles Lavine; (second row) David Weprin and Rhoda Jacobs; (third row) Michael Simanowitz, Gary Pretlow, Kenneth Zebrowski and Fred Thiele.

Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) is pleased to announce that landmark legislation, the Iran Divestment Act of 2012 (A.8668-A), has overwhelmingly passed the New York State Assembly.

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012 prohibits state and local governments from conducting business with companies that invest in Iran's energy sector.

"The announcement this weekend of the launch of a second major uranium enrichment site is further proof that Iran is a known sponsor of international terrorism. Combined with last year's foiled terror attempt in Washington D.C., it is clear that we must do more to combat this growing threat to the international community," said Silver. "Companies that invest in Iran's energy sector only provide greater resources to advance further acts of terror. This vital legislation will bar governments in New York from doing business with any of these companies."

A federal law passed last year authorized state and local governments to divest from companies whose interests in Iran's energy sector directly or indirectly support its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The divestment would apply to companies that engage in oil or natural gas development in Iran, as well as any company found to be directly involved in nuclear power.

The Iran Divestment Act requires the State Office of General Services (OGS) to identify persons or entities that invest an excess of $20 million in goods, services or credit in the Iranian energy sector. Persons or organizations that appear on the list will be prohibited from entering into or renewing contracts with New York State and local governments.

In compliance with the federal Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, OGS will create a verification process to notify entities that will be on the list. Entities will be provided an opportunity to appeal this designation.

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012 is modeled after similar legislation in California. It was conceived with the aid of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

"We commend Speaker Sheldon Silver and the New York State Assembly for the introduction of the Iran Divestment Act of 2012. By throwing the weight of New York State behind growing national and international efforts to prevent a nuclear Iran, we stand here confident in our knowledge that our representatives are on the right side of history," said Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Michael S. Miller. "We are grateful to the Speaker, and all of the members of the Assembly who support this legislation and for protecting the interests of New Yorkers and all other Americans."

In 2009, Comtproller Thomas DiNapoli announced the divestment of $86.2 million in New York State Common Retirement Fund investments from companies that conducted business in Iranand/or Sudan. These companies include Gazprom, Inpex, Lukoil, Oil and Natural Gas Corp., OMV, Petroleo Brasilia, Statoil, Wartsila OYJ, and Sinopec Corp.

The legislation will take effect 90 days after it becomes law.