Last Thursday, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly passed (75-0) Assembly Bill 221 to divest California’s public retirement funds from key foreign businesses that invest in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This historic legislation is the first or its kind in America.
The bill will go onto the California State Senate later this summer, where it is expected to pass, and then be sent to Governor Schwarzenegger for signature.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Joel Anderson’s (R-El Cajon) who said “California’s taxpayers should not be investing in a country which funds terrorism.” He added “Money is the mother’s milk of terrorism.”
Final passage of this bill would prohibit California’s two largest pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS (they are also the nation’s two largest) from investing public employee retirement funds in companies with business operations in Iran. Other states are said to be considering following suit.
Roozbeh Farahanipour, a student activist and an ex-political prisoner, who testified in Sacramento in favor of passing AB-22 , told Pajamas Media that the huge amount of 24 billion dollars that would be divested is almost equal to the amount of Islamic regime’s annual military budget.
As we stated in our last report, AB-221 faces opposition from groups often considered to be apologist for the Islamic regime like the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Many Iranian expatriates around the world and in the US, including crown prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, support the legislation.