A radical and nuclear Iran and a genocidal regime in Sudan will no longer be aided with Pennsylvania dollars under a bill that I’ve been working on for five years that is now awaiting Gov. Rendell’s signature to become law.
Last week, the state House unanimously approved legislation I originally introduced to prohibit Pennsylvania’s public pension funds and the state treasurer from investing in foreign companies doing business in Iran and Sudan — countries designated as terror-sponsoring nations by the U.S. State Department. Federal law already prohibits domestic companies from doing business in Iran and Sudan.
A special thanks to Rep. Babette Josephs who led the effort on the Sudan divestment piece and to Sen. Mike Stack who introduced a companion Senate bill.
This new law will require Pennsylvania to divest the nearly $400 million it directly invests in foreign companies doing business in Iran and Sudan. Leveraging the Commonwealth’s economic power together with national and international sanctions will help further isolate our enemies and bolster our allies.
It sends a clear message to foreign companies: If you want to do business with Pennsylvania, then cut your ties to the terrorists.
State-sponsored divestment is an important part of our national security and at the same time protects Pennsylvania retirees. Here’s why: Exposing retiree pensions to the geopolitical risk in Iran and Sudan undermines their financial security, supports terror and genocide, and puts the Commonwealth’s assets at substantial financial risk.
Most importantly, this is just the right thing to do.
I am under no illusions that the acts of Pennsylvania alone will end Iran’s terror and nuclear program or stop the genocide in Sudan. But I do believe that combined with tough sanctions, rigorous diplomacy and the possibility of military action, we will have an impact. We can be proud of that as Pennsylvanians, and I am proud that our years of hard work paid off.
State Rep. Josh Shapiro
Abington Township, Pa.
(The author, who represents the 153rd Legislative District in Montgomery County, co-sponsored the divestment bill.)