NY prohibits companies from doing business with Iran

The New York state legislature has passed a bill prohibiting companies doing business with Iran's energy industry from entering into contracts with the state.

The bill called the 'Iran Divestment Act' was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

It would prohibit companies that provide goods, services or credit worth USD 20 million or more to Iran's energy industry from entering into or renewing state and local government contracts.

"The Senate's swift action shows how important it is that we stand together to condemn tyrannical governments like Iran which sponsor terrorism, have attempted to acquire nuclear weapons and threaten US allies like Israel, as Iran has repeatedly done," Skelos said.

Federal law authorises state and local governments to divest from companies whose interests in Iran's energy sector directly or indirectly support its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The divestment would apply to companies engaged in oil or natural gas development in Iran, as well any company found to be directly involved in nuclear power.

The legislation directs the New York's Office of General Services to create a list of people, corporations and other organizations with investments of more than USD 20 million in the Iranian energy sector.

Those on the list would be excluded from bidding on government contracts.

The bill also requires individuals or entities to certify they are not on the list when they
submit bids to state and local agencies.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement that an announcement this weekend that a second major uranium enrichment site could be soon operational in Iran is further proof that "Iran is a known sponsor of international terrorism... Companies that invest in Iran's energy sector only provide greater resources to advance further acts of terror."

The bill is modeled after similar legislation in California, and it was conceived with the aid of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the statement said.

Activist group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) welcomed the passage of the bill, saying other US states should bring similar legislation to bar companies doing business in Iran from receiving US tax dollars.

"The Iranian regime is the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, a brutal abuser of human rights, and is developing an illegal nuclear weapons programme. Any company that chooses to receive money from such a regime should be ineligible for state contracts in the US and thankfully New York is now affirming that," UANI president Mark Wallace said in a statement.

Tehran faces an increasing risk of being slapped with fresh international sanctions over its nuclear programme that will impact its oil revenue.

Iran has in turn threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is a key transit route for about one-fifth of the oil traded globally.

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