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L.A. County supervisors vote to divest from Iranian energy sector

July 21, 2009 | 11:39 am

Scores of residents and local Jewish leaders applauded this morning as Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously to direct the county pension fund to divest from the Iranian energy sector due to the country’s volatility and status as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“L.A. County’s divestment will send a powerful message to other corporations doing business with Iran,” said Michael Yadegaran, a board member of Los Angeles-based 30 Years After, an Iranian American Jewish nonprofit organization. “It is time that we punish those who deny their citizens freedom, liberty and basic human rights.”

Under the proposal submitted by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich, supervisors will write to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Assn. (LACERA) to request that administrators divest from companies invested in Iran’s energy sector.

About 19 states, including California, have passed similar measures.

“Pending economic sanctions, warnings of great risk, credit restrictions and other measures announced by the United States, European nations and the United Nations make doing business in Iran’s oil and natural gas sector an increasingly risky prospect,” Yaroslavsky and Antonovich wrote.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was absent and did not vote.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the County Hall of Administration