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Announcement :: War and Militarism
Urgent Action! Stop Iran Divestment Bill!
30 Jul 2008
We just got notice that the Iran Divestment Bill, H4270, is hanging in the balance. This bill calls for divestment from companies (oil, petroleum) doing business with Iran. WE think this bill is beating the drums of war with Iran. It's now come before the State Legislature, and we need to defeat it! Please call Speaker DiMasi * in the next 2 days * urging him NOT to bring this bill up for a vote. 617-722-2500
*this is urgent*. There are only two and a half days until the end of business. We greatly appreciate your taking the time to do this!

Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi: 617-722-2500

ABOUT H. 4270

On April 10, 2008, the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight in the Massachusetts State Legislature held a hearing for H. 4270, which mandates the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board to divest Mass State pension funds from foreign corporations which do business in Iran . This Iran divestment bill passed the committee last week and is presently in the Ways and Means Committee.

Supporters of the bill accuse Iran of being a sponsor of terrorism and a threat to the U.S. because of its pursuit of a nuclear program; they claim the aim of the bill is to put peaceful pressure on the Iranian government. In reality, this bill is part of a coordinated campaign by Dick Cheney and his friends to promote confrontation and eventually a military strike against Iran . (At the initial hearing, proponents reported that five states have passed similar bills, including New Jersey , Illinois , Florida , Louisiana and California ). These are the people who brought us the Iraq War disaster and we should not be fooled by the same rhetoric again.

See the full text of House 4270 and sponsor list at


1. *What this is really about: *H. 4270 is not about responsible investment, human rights or anything having to do with protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth. This is a step towards a possible attack on Iran ; it is beating the war drums for an attack.*

2. Don’t support a bill which fosters an attack on Iran: As we know, Dick Cheney and his friends have been pushing hard for an attack on Iran . These are the people who brought us the quagmire in Iraq and
they are now using the tactics of fear, media distortion and political arm-twisting to press for a new war – against another manufactured enemy. You don't have to love the current Iranian government to recognize that it poses no real threat to the US . The idea that we have to take urgent measures to defend ourselves from a looming Iranian threat simply stands reality on its head. Iran is 6000 miles away and it is surrounded by US armies and military bases in every neighboring country; a giant nuclear-armed US fleet cruises just off its coast in the Persian Gulf . Iran has no nuclear weapons – and, according to US Intelligence agencies, no nuclear weapons program.

Just who is threatening who? We have seen this movie before and we should learn from our experience.

3. A sane policy would seek to foster diplomacy, engagement and the search for common ground:* Our Massachusetts legislators should not be supporting a bill which is aimed at inflaming hostility, exaggerating a supposed threat and demonizing Iran to make a new and extremely dangerous war more possible. A sane policy would seek to foster diplomacy and the search for common ground with Iran so we can ease tensions in the region and lessen the chance of war.

4. *This bill would cost the state more than $5 million!* - The directors of the state pension investment board (PRIM) have opposed this measure because it has considerable costs associated with it. PRIM representatives have stated that it would require them to sell $452 million worth of securities, at transaction cost of around $5 million, plus having to hire a consultant to monitor compliance, at a cost of up to $40,000 a year. Those costs could pay the annual pension
benefit for nearly 200 state employees and teachers. Pension fund shortfalls have to be made up from general state revenues.

Massachusetts is facing a 2009 budget shortfall. And Rep. Robert DeLeo (who we will be calling as chairman for the fourth year of the House Committee on Ways and Means stated recently stated: /"This has been the most difficult budget I've had to deal with,"… "It's been further
exacerbated by looking into the future.")

5. *Support rational investment policies* - Let's examine our investment policies broadly and consider how they can contribute to supporting issues of peace and justice at home and abroad. Such policies will contribute far more to our national security. Such strategies should be based on universal principles and rational self-interest, not capitulating to narrow interest politics.

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