tampabay.com

Florida looks to lead charge on businesses in Iran, Sudan

By JANET ZINK
Published April 28, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - The state of Florida may soon sell pension funds invested in some companies that do business with Iran and Sudan.

State senators on Friday unanimously voted in favor of a bill that would require divesting pension funds from companies doing business with the petroleum sector in Iran and the government of Sudan, where the Darfur region has been bloodied by violence that by some estimates has left more than 400, 000 people dead and 3-million people homeless.

Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, sponsored the legislation. Deutch said there's no reason for the state to invest in genocide and terror, and Florida residents "don't want their money being used this way."

If passed next week by the House and signed by the governor, Florida would be the first state to legislate divestment of pension fund holdings from Iran, Deutch said.

"The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will learn today that Florida intends to lead the economic battle in the United States against a region that wants to (destroy the United States and its allies, Great Britain and Israel), " he said.

"We are sending a message to the world, " said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, a co-sponsor of the legislation. "Evil will flourish no more."

The bill affects more than 40 companies, including Royal Dutch Shell. The state pension fund now has more than $130.6-million invested in companies connected to Sudan and $833-million invested in targeted businesses affiliated with Iran.