House Committee Approves Iran Divestment Measure

April 29, 2009 ( - The House Financial Services Committee has approved legislation enabling state and local governments to divest their public pension funds from companies with ties to Iran's energy sector.

H.R. 1327, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009, removes legal barriers to allow mutual fund and corporate pension fund managers to cut ties with these companies, according to a press release.

Patterned after legislation enacted last year to enable divestment from firms investing in certain sectors in Sudan (see Bush Signs Sudan Divestment Bill into Law), the bill specifically provides federal authority to state and local governments to divest their assets from, or prohibit investment of their assets in, any company that:

  • invests $20 million or more in the energy sector in Iran;
  • provides oil or liquefied natural gas tankers or products used to construct or maintain oil or natural gas pipelines in Iran;
  • extends $20 million or more in credit to be used for investment in the energy sector in Iran.

The legislation also includes a sunset provision which would terminate the Act 30 days after the President determines and certifies to Congress that Iran has ceased its support for terrorism and is no longer designated by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism, or has ceased the pursuit of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the announcement said.