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CT State House approves Iranian divestment bill

Rep. David Baram

HARTFORD – In early May, the state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve legislation proposed by Rep. David Baram vice chairman of the General Law Committee, prohibiting state contracts with entities making certain investments in Iran.
“Divestment in Iran’s energy sector by the United States, our western allies and other countries around the world has had a profound economic impact on Iran,” Baram said, praising the 138-3 vote. “The impact is the primary reason that Iran has agreed to upcoming negotiations on limiting its uranium-enrichment program. The goal is to reach a negotiated agreement that would prohibit Iran from creating weapon-grade uranium.”
“It would be a grave mistake to allow the Iranian regime, with one of the world’s worst human rights records, a regime that sponsors terrorism, a regime with an acknowledged ideology of dominating the Persian Gulf, Arab countries, the Middle East and achieving domination over Western countries, to have nuclear weapons,” he continued.
The bill seeks to allow Connecticut, in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, to prohibit state agencies from contracting with entities for goods or contractual services valued at $2.5 million or more, who have invested $20 million or more in the Iranian energy sector after Oct. 1, 2012, or who have increased or renewed such an investment on or after that date. Each bidder for such contracts must submit certification they have not made such an investment in Iran’s energy sector.
In a 2010 bipartisan vote, Congress approved the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, allowing state and local governments to divest or prohibit the investment of assets in certain entities that do business with or invest in Iran’s energy sector. To date, California, Florida, New York, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan have adopted such legislation.
Baram thanked Rep. Matt Lesser, Rep. Brian Becker, vice-chairman of the General Administrative and Elections Committee, for helping to negotiate the legislation with the state Treasurer’s Office and the Department of Administrative Services. He also thanked Bob Fishman, director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and David Ibsen, director of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) for their assistance in developing the bill.

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