The impending Iran deal is a direct assault on Florida’s existing divestment law, according to Jeff Atwater, the chief financial officer of the $183B state’s Department of Financial Services.
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According to Atwater, Washington’s impending Iran deal “undermine Florida’s existing sanctions against terror-related organizations. He urged the leadership of the state’s legislature to defend its divestment law.
Florida divested $1.1B from companies doing business with Iran
In a statement, Atwater said, “The sinister machinery of the Iranian regime is not news to Floridian.” He emphasized that Florida was the first state to pass a law requiring the divestment of public funds from companies doing business with Iran.
According to him, state’s legislature unanimously passed the Iran Divestment Bill (SB 2142). He co-sponsored the law in 2007. He said, “I continue to believe we must any, and all means available to defend against whatever steps may be taken to undermine our state’s policy decisions.”
Atwater 30 states currently have similar policies that keep public money from funding terrorism. Florida’s State Board Administration divested more than $1.1 billion from companies doing business with Iran.”
“One person should not have the power to undo the policies of a state of 20 million people. or that reason, it is imperative that Florida lead the charge—just as we did in establishing our sanctions—to shield states from the federal government’s attacks on our sound and bipartisan policy against funding terror,” said Atwater.
The President or Congress can void Florida’s divestment policy
Atwater pointed out that the federal government cannot compel states to do business directly or indirectly with governments that fund terrorism and systematically abuse human rights.
He noted that the Iran deal exposes the plan of the administration to “use all available authorities” to require states to follow its reckless path. Atwater pointed out that text of the agreement “memorialized its commitment to induce States into abandoning their anti-terrorism policies.”
Atwater noted that at the time of the enactment of Florida’s divestment law, it was prudent to allow the President or Congress to void it.
“At that time, we could not have dreamed that our country’s leadership would enter into an agreement at odds with the sentiments of most Americans and engage with a state that openly sponsors terror, holds American hostages, threatens the stability of an entire region, seeks to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth, and whose leaders presently call for Death to America,” explained Atwater.