July 17, 2012

Expansion of Iran Divestment Act of 2012 Becomes Law

Legislation Strengthens State Support for Federal Effort to
Shut Down Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today commended Governor Andrew Cuomo on signing into law the expansion of the recently enacted Iran Divestment Act of 2012. This action increases the number of state agencies prohibited from doing business with Iran.

The Iran Divestment Act, sponsored by Speaker Silver and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, conforms New York State's procurement practices to the federal government's efforts to halt the development of nuclear weapons in 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.

"For the sake of our nation's security and that of our allies around the world, such as Israel, we stand in solidarity with the federal government's efforts to do everything possible to stymie Iran's development of nuclear weapons," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "I applaud the governor for signing this measure, which expands the Iran Divestment Act of 2012 to ensure that any business done by New York State never benefits Iran, a tyrannical state that is a patron of terrorism in the Middle East and a threat to international peace."

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 which 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.

The ban on business with Iran adopted by New York State is also the law in California, Florida and Indiana, and it has been introduced in several other states, including neighboring Connecticut.

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.