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January 17, 2013 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-01-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Capitol Building

in Lansing

Michigan law creating sanctions
against Iran is finally enacted.

Harry Kirsbaum
Contributing Writer

A

long with a slew of bills passed
in Lansing in late December
after a lame duck session of the
legislature, Gov. Rick Snyder signed the
Iran Economic Sanctions Act into law.
The law, which went into effect imme-
diately, forbids any business or entity
with an investment of $20 million or
more in Iran's energy sector from submit-
ting proposals or doing business with the
state of Michigan, and carries with it a
civil penalty of not more than $250,000
or twice the amount of the contract,
whichever is greater.
"In 2008, Michigan was one of the
first states to pass Iranian divestment
legislation, which required the state to
divest from companies that were heavily
invested in the Iranian energy sector;
said Bryce Sandler, citizen activist and
president of Sandler Associates, a politi-
cal consulting and public relations firm.
"The Iranian regime derives literally all
of its dollars to support its nuclear weap-
ons programs, and to sponsor terrorism
around the world,
from its energy sector:"
Sandler has been
involved in Iranian
divestment advocacy
since 2007. In 2008,
then-Gov. Jennifer
Granholm signed leg-
Bryce Sandler islation that prohibited
Michigan's public pen-
sion funds from investing in companies
that invested in the Iranian energy sector.
In 2011, Sandler again reached out to
Michigan legislators in Lansing regarding
legislation which, similar to the Iranian
divestment, would prohibit vendors to
the state from doing business with Iran's
energy sector.
Federal laws do not regulate the state's
affairs as they pertain to either criteria for
state pension fund management or state
purchasing, said Sandler, who appeared
before Senate and House Banking com-
mittees last year regarding the sanctions.
State Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw),
one of the original bill's co-sponsors, said
the bill was "a little like giving birth:'

"It was made to point
out to Iran that their
terrorist policies, their
support of the destruc-
tion of Syria and their
nuclear policies are
unacceptable he said.
Kahn became inter-
State Sen.
ested in the bill while
Roger Kahn
working on a cigarette
smuggling bill.
"Cigarette smuggling diverts tax
revenue from the state of Michigan
and makes legitimate businesses non-
competitive he said. "It turned out that
Hamas, a terror organization funded by
Iran, is involved in smuggling cigarettes
in Michigan. The tentacles of Iran reach
far beyond the Middle East:'
Kahn said that the reason for the delay
on a bill that most people would consider
an easy vote became complicated because
of the bill's reach. It was discovered that
Fiat, an Italian company and parent com-
pany of Chrysler, had investments in Iran.
Although Kahn was told that Chrysler/
Fiat decided on their own to exit Iran, "the
bill would only be applicable if Chrysler/
Fiat was to bid on a contract in the United
States, and had an investment of at least
$20 million in Iran's energy sector:'
Kahn said that it would be unlikely
that an auto company would invest in
Iran's energy sector, although if that
company had an investment arm, the law
would be enforceable.
Former State Rep.
Marty Knollenberg,
(R-Troy) another co-
sponsor of the original
bill, said the law didn't
go far enough.
"I wanted to ban
any type of relation-
ship with Iran:' said
Marty
Knollenberg, who was
Knollenberg
term-limited in 2012.
"If we're going to be effective in
restricting Iran's ability to become a
nuclear powerhouse, we need to have the
toughest sanctions out there. But anytime
we can make it more difficult for Iran
to develop nuclear weapons, any time
we draw attention to this rogue terrorist
nation, I'm in favor of it:'



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