Iran Divestiture Legislation Clears First Hurdle

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TRENTON—Bi-partisan legislation sponsored by state Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. and Senate President Stephen Sweeney that aims to ensure New Jersey tax dollars are denied to businesses conducting activity in Iran, moved forward today.

The bill, S-1304, which cleared the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee today, would deny state and local public contracts to any person or entity that invest in Iran’s energy or finance sectors.

“Those who invest in sectors of the Iranian economy that strengthen President Ahmadinejad’s dictatorial regime are financially supporting a state sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses,” said Kean. “Our own federal government and the international community at large have sanctioned Iran for its behavior. Just as New Jersey added to the world community’s pressure against South African apartheid and Sudanese genocide, it is incumbent to act. We can support the multilateral pressure being applied to this rogue state sponsor of terrorism, torture, and oppression of women and political dissidents by denying anyone who invests in the Iranian economy public contracts in the state of New Jersey.”

Kean said that denying public contracts to those investing in rogue states ensures that taxpayer dollars are not used to support international bad actors. “Taxpayers have a basic expectation that their money is not misappropriated, and I certainly believe that contributing to the profits of entities that support a terrorist regime and sworn enemy of Israel fits the bill,” he said.

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