New York State Senate Passes Iran Divestment Act

The New York State Senate today passed a bill to reinforce its stand against Iran, a country that is a known sponsor of terrorism and a threat to American and Israeli citizens. The bill (S923), sponsored by Senator Thomas Croci, would safeguard New York’s Iran Divestment Act of 2012 by continuing to impose limitations on vendors that do business with the Iranian energy and financial sectors and seek contracts with New York State agencies, SUNY, CUNY, public authorities, and local governments.

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Let’s face it: Iran continues to be a supporter of terrorist groups and an enemy to America and our allies abroad. At a time when there is much uncertainty surrounding previously signed international agreements, New York must stand by our steadfast ally Israel. By passing this legislation, we are sending a clear message that we will not tolerate a state sponsor of terrorism or those who would do business with Iran.”

Senator Croci said, “Iran remains the greatest and most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism in the world. New Yorkers stood together today in unanimously passing this legislation calling on our state government to continue not doing business with Iran. Our Governor and the Assembly majority owe it to the residents of United States, Israel, and our allies to unite against this terrorist regime. I am proud to support this bill and I hope that the Assembly and Governor will act quickly on it to ensure that state contracts and investments will never go to those who preach the destruction of America.”

The measure builds upon the Iran Divestment Act of 2012, which was modeled after similar legislation across the country and conceived with help from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. It directs the state Office of General Services to create a list of people, corporations and other organizations with investments of more than $20 million in the Iranian energy sector. Those on the list would be excluded from bidding on government contracts. The law also requires individuals or entities to certify they are not on the list when they submit bids to state and local agencies. Individuals or companies on the list that are the sole source of certain commodities or services can renew or enter into contracts on a case-by-case basis.

At a press conference yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Israel is in possession of thousands of documents that show Iran lied about its nuclear ambitions by continuing to conduct a secret nuclear weapons program leading up to the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015. In light of this recent news, this bill would ensure the 2012 Act’s important provisions will remain in effect in New York – regardless of JCPOA’s fate – to prevent the financial support of Iran’s tyrannical government unless the United States Senate approves a treaty to the contrary.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.