New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US states have the constitutional authority to continue sanctioning Iran, nearly 30 New York State Assembly Members wrote to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The letter sent on Monday urged Cuomo to continue the sanctions New York passed in 2012, meant to halt Iranian nuclear ambitions and not allow state businesses to bankroll the leading governmental sponsor of terrorism.
Assembly Members Nily Rozic (D-Queens) and Phil Goldfeder (D-Queens) spearheaded the letter, signed by Democrats and Republicans and sent days before the vote in Congress about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to lift international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“Since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was first proposed, I have heard concerns from constituents and want to ensure their voices are heard as Congress prepares to take up the measure,” Rozic, the first Israeli-born elected official in New York, said. “In keeping existing sanctions against Iran, we are sending a strong message that New York should not do business with Iran or its business partners.”
In 2012, Albany passed the Iran Divestment Act of 2012, which requires the State Office of General Services to identify persons or entities that invest more than $20 million in goods, services or credit in the Iranian energy sector, and to block their access to state contracts.
Similar legislation was passed in relation to the State University of New York system.
This followed earlier efforts in 2009 by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to divest $86.2m. in state pension fund investments made by companies doing business in Iran and Sudan.
The legislators pointed out that the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) passed by Congress granted states the authority to impose sanctions in the wake of federal efforts to combat Iran’s growing nuclear and terrorist aspirations.
According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, this law and the authority it grants New York State is unlikely to be undone by the current Iran deal.
Goldfeder said that, regardless of what happens in Washington, Cuomo should continue sanctions.
“New York State has been a leading voice in the implementation of sanctions against Iran and now is not the time to waiver in our resolve on this issue,” he said.
Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Brooklyn) referred to Cuomo’s constitutional authority to continue the sanctions via state pension divestment and said he found that most of his constituents oppose lifting them.
The Iran deal is “particularly objectionable” in that it gives a “king’s ransom to a country that has funded some of the worst terrorism the world has ever known,” Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky