Expansion of Iran Divestment Act of 2012 Becomes Law

Legislation strengthens state support for federal effort to shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program
July 19, 2012

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012, sponsored by Speaker Silver, and which I co-sponsored, was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo. This action conforms New York State’s procurement practices to the federal government’s efforts to halt the development of nuclear weapons in Iran and increases the number of state agencies prohibited from doing business with Iran.

The bill (A.9224) adds SUNY, CUNY and state and local public authorities to the public entities that are barred from entering into contracts with companies that make substantial investments in Iran's energy sector.

“This legislation renews New York’s commitment in the fight against terrorism, taking a bold stand and sending a message loud and clear that our great state will not help fund Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” said Assemblywoman Ellen C. Jaffee. “Under our bill, people, businesses and organizations that invest substantial sums of money in the Iranian energy sector would be identified by the state Office of General Services and prohibited from doing business with state and local governments, helping keep taxpayer money out of the hands of known international terrorists.”

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012 requires the state Office of General Services to create a public list of individuals or companies engaged in investment activities in Iran that are targeted by the federal law. Under the act, companies that provide goods or services, or credit used for goods or services of more than $20 million to Iran are ineligible for New York State procurement contracts.

In 2009, at the direction of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, more than $86 million in New State Common Retirement Fund investments were divested from nine companies that were linked to business activities in Iran and Sudan.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in July 2010, blocking any companies that are linked to Iran’s regime from winning contracts with the federal government.

In doing so, we have strengthened our security as well as the security of Israel and our allies, who are susceptible to the nuclear expansion of Iran. In 2012, President Obama signed a similar act, and the ban has been adopted in several other states. In this way we hope to deprive Iran of funding for nuclear programs and preserve international peace.