March 9, 2007, - 2:20 pm

On Iran Funds, Good Move by Congressman, Legislators

By Debbie Schlussel
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) proposed legislation that would require federal pensions to divest shares of any company with more than $20 million invested in Iran’s energy sector.
That’s good news. But if the idea is to hurt Iran, that’s not good enough, and it has no teeth. They should be forced to completely divest from any company doing any amount of business with Iran, period. That would get Coke and Pepsi out of Iran, very quickly.
Besides, how will they know how much goes directly to Iran’s “energy sector,” since we know money is a fungible good? Also, why does Ros-Lehtinen make allowances for $20 million? Like I said, full divestment is the only way Iran will ever starve and comply. Under the status quo, no-one in Iran is hurting, except a tiny minority of human rights advocates and the few Jews kept prisoner there.

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I like the State of Missouri’s approach. USA Today reports that in June, the state ordered all state-employee pension funds to sell shares of companies with commercial interests in Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan. Georgia, California, and Florida are also considering similar measures.
There is also a “terror-free” mutual fund that will be available in April from Nationwide Financial:

Nationwide Financial will add a “terror-free” mutual fund to options for 25,000 401(k) plans it administers. The Roosevelt Anti-Terror Multi-Cap Fund will screen out companies with ties to Iran and others on the U.S. terrorism list.

More details in USA Today.

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