Sunday, March 21, 2010

Senator Ted Deutch Continues to Squeeze Iran's Economic Lifeline

Continuing in his relentless efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, Senator Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) unanimously passed SB 2520 out of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs and Domestic Security today. This vital legislation will prevent state agencies from entering into, awarding, or renewing a contract with any company doing business, either directly or indirectly, with Iran.

The timeliness of this legislation is bolstered by a report released from The New York Times last week detailing how the federal government has awarded over $107 billion within the past decade to companies engaged in business with Iran. Included in that $107 billion is $15 billion for companies that financially support Iran’s energy sector – a direct violation of U.S. sanctions law.

“The state of Florida has made it clear in the past that its citizens and businesses will not contribute to Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program,” said Senator Deutch. “We must continue these efforts and put all safeguards in place to prevent Iran from achieving its goal of developing nuclear weapons.”

SB 2520, sponsored by Representative Rader (D-Delray Beach) in the Florida House of Representatives, is modeled on Congressman Ron Klein’s federal legislation, “The Accountability for Business Choices in Iran Act,” a measure praised by Senator Deutch. In his efforts to gain support for this important legislation, Senator Deutch has worked closely with United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an organization whose primary goal is to put extreme economic pressure on the Iranian regime to prevent their efforts to build a nuclear arsenal. “It is time for companies to choose whether they want to do business with Iran or with the good people of the 50 U.S. states, and that is what this bill requires. Now more than ever, federal and state governments must be accountable for every taxpayer dollar that it spends. ” said UANI President, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace. “UANI applauds Senator Ted Deutch and his staff for sponsoring legislation that keeps in mind the best interests of Florida taxpayers as well as U.S. national security.”

In conjunction with this legislation, Senator Deutch sent a letter last week to Governor Charlie Crist, following up on his previous request that the Governor halt Vitol, formerly Iran’s largest supplier of refined petroleum, from using public funds to open a terminal at Florida’s Port Canaveral. Senator Deutch also sent a letter to Ash Williams, Executive Director of the State Board of Administration, urging him to expedite the availability of a terror-free retirement option for Florida workers. In his letter, Senator Deutch emphasizes the fact that legislation signed into law last year by Governor Crist requires this terror-free option to be available by March 1, 2010.

“There is but one moment in Florida’s history to prevent Iran form developing nuclear weapons, and that moment is now,” said Senator Deutch. “Florida need not stand by while the federal government fails to enforce serious economic sanctions on Iran. Just last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the 9/11 attacks on America a lie, and he shows no signs of retreating from his previous call to wipe Israel off the map. Iran is sliding towards a military dictatorship built on defiance of the international community and the oppression of its own people, and Florida taxpayers have no interest in financially supporting this dangerous regime,” said Senator Deutch.

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