Texas Governor Joins Effort to Pressure Iran

Republican Governor of Texas Rick Perry is pressuring pension funds in his state to pull their support from Iranian-linked businesses.

Hana Levi Julian ,

Iranian nukes
Iranian nukes

State pension funds in Texas are being given the opportunity to voluntarily divest from companies doing business with Iran in a move to encourage them to avoid supporting a terrorist country.


If Republican Governor Rick Perry’s efforts fail to persuade the companies to divest on their own, however, he is prepared to work toward official measures to force them to make the move.


“This is a country (Iran) that has a clear terrorist focus, has a clear mission to wipe a friendly democracy and a very close ally of the United States off of the face of the earth,” said Perry on Wednesday.


The Texas governor met last month with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Opposition Leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) during his visit to Israel last month to accept a “Friend of Zion” award from Global Capital Associates.


The case for divesting from firms doing business with Iran was made by Netanyahu, a former Finance Minister and Prime Minister.


Perry said he would convene a special session of the state legislature if he cannot begin divestment proceedings without passing a bill for the purpose. A law that included divestment from Iran was nixed by the legislature several months ago.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish State and last year vowed to “wipe Israel off the map.”


Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson said in an interview published Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle that the amount of money in possible divestment could total “hundreds of millions of dollars.” Wilson accompanied the governor and attended the meetings with Israeli officials.


The Republican governor signed a bill passed by the legislature earlier this year ordering the state’s Teacher Retirement and Employees Retirement funds to divest from companies doing business with Sudan, due to the continuing genocide in Darfur.