California Among Many States That Won’t Lift Iran Sanctions Easily

Iran protest (Jennifer Smith / Flickr / CC)
Jennifer Smith / Flickr / CC
Los Angeles, CA

As the June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal with Iran approaches, almost 30 U.S. states, including California are keeping tight grips on their own sanctions on the Iranian regime–separate from those imposed by the federal government.

Often, state-imposed sanctions are even stricter than those imposed by the U.S. government–and more difficult to remove.

These states punish companies that are working with Iran by refusing to conduct business with them, or invent state pension funds in them. According to a report by Reuters, more than half of these states’s sanctions are set to expire “only if Iran is no longer designated to be supporting terrorism or if all U.S. federal sanctions are lifted–unlikely outcomes even in the case of a final nuclear accord.” In fact, Kansas and Mississippi are both looking to impose new sanctions on Iran, Reuters notes.

Federal sanctions on Iran tied to human rights issues and support for terrorism will more than likely remain in place. The sanctions the U.S. would likely lift are directed towards Iran’s export of crude oil, as well as restrictions on its central banking system.

In October of 2007, the California State Senate and Assembly unanimously passed the California Public Divest From Iran Act, which prohibited state pension funds (CalPERS and CalSTRS) from being used for investing in companies that conduct energy, defense, petroleum, natural gas and nuclear-related business in Iran.

Reuters reported that among a dozen states, legislators in Georgia, Florida and Michigan said they were not planning on changing or relaxing their Iran policies even if a federal deal came to fruition, while officials in Connecticut and Illinois conveyed that even with a signed deal, they would need to create new local legislation in order to change their current divestment policies.

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