Reader comment on: Iran Divestment Doesn't Have To Hurt Pensioners
Submitted by Howard Slugh (United States), Sep 2, 2007 12:48
Mr. Glasgow, I do not pretend to say there aren't legitimate and difficult questions about states divesting from Iran. But your characterization of state divestments as "trying to make a point with other people's money" seems to miss the point. State divestments are not about making a point. Our article did not, and I do not, endorse state divestments merely aimed at "making a point". Such a concept is dangerous and is open to manipulation by any crusader capable of mouthing the words "social justice". We would only support state divestments in the most dire cases and for the most serious of reasons. The reason why we supported state divestments from Iran is because of the overwhelming national security threat Iran poses to the United States.
The first edition of InFocus The Jewish Policy Center's journal lays out the facts of Iran's vulnerability to financial sticks. This is an avenue that if seriously perused could prevent mitigate the looming Iranian Nuclear crisis. Unfortunately the U.N. and Federal Sanctions have proved weak and have been applied fecklessly. We supported state divestments in the hopes of avoiding the alternatives of a nuclear Iran or a military strike on Iran.
As for your proposal to divest other industries from funding Iran, I strongly support U.N. and Federal sanctions with real teeth that can inflict serious harm on the Iranian economy. Iran cannot be allowed to build a nuclear bomb and we are going to have to stop them. State divestments are a first step in halting Iran's march toward nuclear weapons. I am under no illusions that they, alone, will prove sufficient. I agree with you that at the very least stronger and more comprehensive sanctions will be needed.
In addition your criticism that Terror Free Investing is an abuse of the pension funds fiduciary duty is simply untrue. Investments in Iran are risky. Every morning a paper or news magazine talks about a possible U.S., French or Israeli Strike on Iran. It is entirely legitimate for States to decide that they want to shield their pensions from such risk. As noted in the prior response above terror free investment funds have proven quite successful.
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