State pension dollars won't be
invested in companies doing business
in Iranian energy sector
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ate last month, both chambers
of the Michigan Legislature
passed Iran divestment bills,
which the governor is expected to sign
The law would
remove the invest-
ments of Michigan's
public pension funds
from companies with
ment in Iran's energy
sector. Oil and gas
sales are the largest
source of revenue for
Iran's government, which uses these
proceeds to build an illicit nuclear pro-
gram in violation of three U.N. Security
Council resolutions as well as to fund
terrorism throughout the Middle East.
Local activist Bryce Sandler spear-
headed Michigan's effort. He testified
before the state House and Senate in
support of the divestment measures.
An initial divestment bill was intro-
duced last year by state Rep. Marty
Knollenberg, R-Troy. A Senate compan-
ion bill was introduced by state Sen.
Cameron Brown, R-Kalamazoo.
"It is critical that our country does
everything possible to staunch the
growing threat from Iran. States can
help by ensuring that their pension
funds are not caught up in companies
that enable Iran's nuclear project and
its support for terror; said Knollenberg.
Michigan will be the ninth state
to enact such legislation. Arizona,
California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
Louisiana, Maryland and New Jersey
already have Iran divestment laws on
the books. Additionally, comptrollers
or pension systems in Colorado, New
York, Ohio, Texas and Washington have
adopted Iran divestment policies.
"Divestment is having a tangible
impact on the ground, but more states
and cities must rise to the occasion:'
said Sandler, a Bingham Farms-based
activist. "Every American can do
something to help stop Iran's pursuit of
nuclear weapons. Talk to your elected
officials and let them know that they,
too, can make a difference'
Sandler continued,"First, with
respect to the companies actually mak-
ing the investments: several, includ-
ing Shell, Total, ENI, and Repsol, have
indicated they will be making no new
investments at the current time in Iran,
citing pressure from governments and
the possibility of sanctions. Divestment,
and the possibility of reputational
harm, are largely responsible for these
"This, and other economic sanc-
tions, are clearly impacting Iran and
may yet force the regime to reconsider
its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capa-
One of Mahmoud
been saying that Iran has no problem
with Jews — only the Jewish state.
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July 24 * 2008
Ahmadinejad's deputies made a rare
claim that Iran feels friendship toward
"Today Iran is friendly with the peo-
ples of America and Israel: Esfandiyar
Rahim Masha'i, Iran's vice president in
charge of tourism and cultural affairs,
"No people in the world is our enemy,
and this is a source of pride he said at
a tourism fair in Tehran.
The comments clashed with the
longstanding policy of President
Ahmadinejad and the rest of Iran's
Islamist leadership of refusing coex-
istence with Israel. By referring to the
"people" of Israel, Mashal may have
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Through the new service, tour-
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