Glen Cove – Assemblyman Charles Lavine was honored to be called upon to present the case for passage of New York State’s Iran Divestment Act of 2012 in the Assembly Chamber this past January. The following is a transcript of Lavine’s argument for the bill (Assembly Bill No. A8668-A):
“The provisions of the Iran Divestment Act of 2012 are authorized by the federal Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. Both this bill and the federal act respond to the ongoing and increasing belligerence of the government of Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council have repeatedly criticized Iran for its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Several nations, including the United States, have imposed sanctions on Iran in an attempt to halt this threat. The government of Iran blatantly disregards human rights and democratic principles.
The Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 expressly authorizes state and local governments to prohibit state and municipal contracts with companies that conduct substantial business with or invest in Iran’s energy sector. It is the intent of A8668-A to implement fully the federal act. It would require the Office of General Services to create a list of entities engaged in investment activities in Iran. Those placed on the list would be prohibited from entering into or renewing contracts with New York State and local governments. The law would permit such contracts, however, if the state agency or local government determines that it is unable to procure the necessary commodity or service elsewhere.
It is of cardinal importance to remember that this bill is not aimed at the Iranian people but rather at the Iranian government and is in response to the threat that its present government poses to world peace. Nothing in either the spirit or letter of this bill should be construed as hostility towards the citizens of Iran.
A perfect example of the bond of friendship between the American and Iranian people occurred just recently when our sailors from the U.S.S. Stennis battle group freed 13 Iranian fishermen who had long been held hostage by Somali Pirates in the Gulf of Oman. As one of the Iranians told our sailors, “It is like you were sent by God!”
Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations, has said: ‘Sanctions are only a means to an end. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that Iran enters into full compliance with all its international nuclear obligations and takes the steps necessary to resolve outstanding questions. In the face of Iran’s deception and intransigence, the international community must speak with one voice, making clear that Iranian actions jeopardize international peace and security and will only further isolate the regime.’
Our sister states of California and Florida have already enacted such legislation. Let us now join them in the vanguard nations and states to send the message that we stand together in opposition to the tyranny presented by the present government of Iran.
Iran’s recent devaluation of its currency and its continuing threats of retaliation are clear indications that American and European pressures are working.
Following Lavine’s presentation, the bill was passed unanimously in the Assembly. Later in the day, it was passed in the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on January 13, 2012.
Video of Assemblyman Lavine’s argument for the bill may be seen at:
and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dScmehg19Wg