Congressional Leader Joins Blumenfield, Feuer, as Los Angeles Takes Historic Steps on Iran Divestment

Rep. Eliot Engel, top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joins Councilmember Blumenfield and City Attorney Mike Feuer to urge municipalities to follow Los Angeles’ lead.

LOS ANGELES – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today secured the Los Angeles City Council’s support for his measure that makes Los Angeles the first City to be in full compliance with the Iran Contracting Act of 2010. That law, authored by then Assemblymembers Feuer and Blumenfield, bars persons engaged in investment activities in Iran’s petroleum, natural gas, or nuclear industries from bidding on or renewing contracts with the State and local governments.

“With an economy that ranks among those of major industrialized nations, home to one of the busiest ports in the world, Los Angeles plays an outsized role in ensuring the crucial sanctions designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities are as robust as possible,” said Blumenfield. “Now more than ever, it is crucial that all levels of government work as a team in the interests of maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime.”

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Councilmember Blumenfield is joined by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and Jewish community leaders as Los Angeles takes historic steps for a municipality in the ongoing effort in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities.

In 2010, Congress extended US sanctions to parties involved in Iran’s energy sector through the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA). Section 202 of CISADA authorized state and local governments to divest their funds from parties involved in Iran’s energy sector and to bar such parties from state and local government contracts. The Iran Contracting Act of 2010 made California the first state in the nation to enact a law pursuant to Section 202.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was among those who drafted the original language, under then-Chairman Howard Berman.

“There is no greater threat to the United States and our allies than a nuclear-capable Iran.  In recent years the Congress has passed bipartisan legislation designed to cripple the Iranian economy,” said Rep. Engel. “These measures played a major role in bringing Iran back to the negotiating table.  We must continue to work with our partners here in Los Angeles and around to country to keep the pressure on Iran until it verifiably abandons its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.”

In the months since Councilmember Blumenfield introduced the motion last September, the City, led by the City Attorney’s office, has conducted a comprehensive review of its current contracting practices, procedures and policies to ensure that the City is in compliance with the state and federal laws. The motion also directed the City Attorney to establish a bidder certifications process for those seeking to enter into contracts with the City.

"Any progress toward eliminating Iran's nuclear threat is the direct result of economic pressure from legislation and efforts like those we highlight today," said City Attorney Mike Feuer, joint-author of the law prohibiting California from doing business with companies invested in Iran's energy sector.  

“Today the City of Los Angeles is sending a strong message to an Iranian regime that has continually flaunted international law in pursuit of a nuclear weapon, while providing peace of mind to every Angeleno that our tax dollars will not support such efforts,” concluded Blumenfield.

Also appearing at Council in favor of the motion were local community leaders Dave Rand, Chair of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California ("JPAC"), the largest single state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation, Cliff Goldstein from the American Jewish Committee, and Sam Yebri, President of 30 Years After, a non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting the participation and leadership of Iranian American Jews in American political, civic and Jewish life.

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