BEVERLY PRESS: L.A. looks to impede Iran’s investors

The Park La Brea News-Beverly Press' Aaron Blevins covers the City Council's historic stand against Iran's nuclear weapons program: 

City officials hoped to make a statement to the Iranian government last Friday, when the Los Angeles City Council voted to prohibit entities that do business with Iran’s energy sector from pursuing local government contracts.

The vote brought the city into compliance with the Iran Contracting Act of 2010, which was authored by then-Assemblymen Mike Feuer and Bob Blumenfield. The two have teamed up again to ensure that the legislation is implemented at the city level.

“We’re going to send a strong message to the Iranian regime that until they give up all aspirations for developing nuclear weapons, the United States will use every arrow in our quiver to prevent that from happening,” said Blumenfield, who now represents the council’s 3rd District. “And crucially, today’s action provides much needed peace of mind for all Angelenos, that their tax dollars will never be party to a nuclear Iran.”

Speaking from the Spring Street steps at city hall, he said Iran has a history of “flaunting” international pressure with its “uranium enrichment efforts.” Therefore, it was imperative that the city partner with the federal government to ensure that existing U.S. sanctions against the country are “robust as possible,” Blumenfield said.

Because of the threat that Iran poses to the U.S., the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2010 pushed a bill to allow cities and states the opportunity to divest from parties involved in Iran’s energy sector and prohibit them from seeking state and local government contracts, he said.

Later that year, Blumenfield and Feuer passed the first bill in the nation to take advantage of the federal law, the councilman said.

“[These] actions take the chain of events to its logical conclusion, as Los Angeles is set to become the first city to affirm its full compliance with that law,” he added. Blumenfield said local governments have historically and constitutionally played a limited role in foreign policy, but the council took “historic action” last week.

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, attended the press conference and praised the council’s move. He was a co-author of the original language in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, the 2010 committee bill.

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