2009-08-07 / Top Stories

City Divests Pension Funds Of Iran Investments

Senator Charles Schumer (left), Congressman Anthony Weiner, Michael Miller, Jewish Community Relations Council Vice President and CEO, with Comptroller Bill Thompson. Senator Charles Schumer (left), Congressman Anthony Weiner, Michael Miller, Jewish Community Relations Council Vice President and CEO, with Comptroller Bill Thompson. Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a member of the Commerce Committee, joined by New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, and Senator Charles Schumer recently announced that the New York City Pension Fund System would be divesting $10 million from two companies that have major investments in Iran's energy sector. Comptroller Thompson has also formally recommended that the City's pension funds divest $110 million from an additional eight companies tied to Iran.

The office of Congressman Weiner recently released a report which found that the City's pension system had millions invested in 16 companies, all of which had made significant investments in Iran's energy sector. Working with Comptroller Thompson's office, the value of these holdings was estimated to be more than $610 million and all five of the pension funds had investments in companies tied to Iran.

Weiner commended Comptroller Thompson for planning the immediate divestment of $10.8 million from two companies with business ties to Iran and his plans for divestment from an additional eight companies. He emphasized the importance of divestment from all sixteen companies, highlighting Iran's continued push towards the construction of a nuclear weapon and the success of past divestment campaigns like the one directed at South Africa.

"New York City joins seven other cities along with 15 states in committing to no longer invest in companies that prop up Iran's despotic regime. Iran has advocated the destruction of Israel and continued a dangerous nuclear program that threatens the stability of the region. Investing in Iran is not only immoral, it is dangerous," the Congressman stated.

In 2007, Weiner called on New York State and New York City pension funds to divest all of their investments in Iran and released a list of international companies with such investments. Recently, Comptroller Dinapoli announced that the state pension system would divest $86 million from nine companies invested in Iran's energy sector.

Weiner is a cosponsor of the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which explicitly authorizes states and local governments to divest and protects investment companies from civil, criminal and administrative action for divesting from Iran.

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