The Assembly Takes On Tehran

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants to use access to business in the Empire State as leverage to keep companies from doing business with Ahmadinejad's Iran.

Today, the Manhattan Democrat announced what he called landmark legislation that would prevent not just Albany but municipal governments here from any contracts with companies with ties to Tehran. He cited the recent suspected attempt by the Iranian government to hatch a terror plot that, officials said, may have involved an attack on the Israeli and Saudi embassies here.

“The government of Iran is a tyrannical regime and a sponsor of international terrorism and it is determined to acquire nuclear weapons,” Silver said in a statement. “For the safety of our nation, as well as our allies throughout the world, including Israel, we cannot allow that to happen. By divesting the state from any business with companies whose actions further Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms, we are doing our part to make the world a safer place.”

From the press release:

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012 – modeled after similar legislation in California and conceived with help from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York – would prohibit companies that provide goods, services or credit worth $20 million or more to Iran’s energy industry from entering into or renewing state and local government contracts.

A federal law passed last year authorized state and local governments to divest from companies whose interests in Iran’s energy sector directly or indirectly support its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The divestment would apply to companies engaged in oil or natural gas development in Iran, as well any company found to be directly involved in nuclear power. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.