Iran Divestiture Proposal Announced by NY State Comptroller

November 16, 2007 ( - New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli last week announced a plan to divest state retirement funds from companies doing business in Iran.

According to the Legislative Gazette, the three phases of the plan are:

  • Identify the companies that the retirement fund is invested in that have business operations in Iran related to the energy or defense sectors.
  • Contact the companies identified in Phase I requesting a description on the companies’ business activities in Iran. They will need to explain how these activities are consistent with a prudent long-term investment strategy and report on steps they have taken to lessen investment risks that occur by doing business in Iran.
  • Evaluate the response of the companies to determine if they have taken considerable steps to minimize the risk to the retirement fund.

DiNapoli said if these steps are not taken, he will withhold additional or new investments in those companies and even divest funds from those companies, the Legislative Gazette reported.

“Iran is supporting terrorism. It’s trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and its president has made public statements that amount to an incitement to commit genocide by calling for the destruction of the state of Israel,” DiNapoli said, in the news report. “At some point we have to ask, can we afford to risk pension fund investments in a country led by this kind of regime?”

DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the New York state Common Retirement Fund – the third largest public pension plan in the country at $154.5 billion.