Despite Agreement, NY, NYC Not Quick to Reinvest in Iran

NEW YORK -

The directors of the huge pension funds of New York State and New York City have no plans of reinvesting in Iran, despite the agreement reached by the administration and endorsed Monday by the United Nations.

Spokespersons for State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and City Comptroller Scott Stringer told Hamodia that no changes are planned in their portfolios.

“Last week’s news will not impact the investment strategy for the New York City Pension Funds,” Stringer spokeswoman Josiel Estrella wrote in an email.

“Currently, there is no plan to change the Fund’s investment position regarding Iran,” wrote Matt Sweeney, DiNapoli’s assistant communications director.

President Barack Obama’s agreement, announced last week, deals solely with sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. That mainly restricts sales of products for military use. These sanctions will be removed on Sept. 18 unless Congress manages to override Obama’s veto with a two-thirds majority.

Separate sanctions by the West over Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism and its threats against Israel will remain.

William McGlone, a Washington attorney who specializes in economic sanctions, told NPR that the lifting of sanctions will not affect regular citizens.

“There’s this expectation, or assumption, in the business community that the sanctions are being lifted, when, in fact, the U.S. legal framework is scheduled to remain in place,” McGlone said. “As a general rule of thumb, any U.S.-based business and any U.S. person, unless specifically authorized, will be precluded from doing any business in Iran.”

New York’s massive $176.8 billion pension fund, the third largest in the nation, divested about $82 million from companies dealing with Iran in 2009. At the time, DiNapoli mentioned both Iran’s nuclear program and its sponsorship of terror as reasons it was not a good investment.

New York City’s $164 billion fund stripped itself of about $150 million from companies dealing with Iran in 2009.