Friday, March 24, 2006

California Kicks Off Iran Divestment Campaign in State Pensions

Vital Perspectives:

California State Controller Steve Westly announced on Friday that he is calling upon the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), to examine their pension holdings for investment in companies with ties to Iran. The two pension funds are the largest in the United States with a combined $338 billion in assets.

"As fiduciaries protecting our retirees’ benefits, we must act responsibly by taking action against companies sanctioned for facilitating weapons proliferation in Iran," Westly wrote. "We must also ensure that CalPERS and CalSTRS do not in any way support a government determined to slow the growth of democratic and stable governments in the Middle East."

Westly's press release and a copy of the letter sent to CalPERS and CalSTRS is available here in PDF. This is a huge step in our efforts to further isolate the dangerous Iranian regime, and we're hopeful that other pension funds across the country will follow California's leadership in this respect.