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California divesting from Iran

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill prohibiting his state’s pension fund from investing in companies that do business with Iran.

Schwarzenegger on Sunday signed the California Public Divest from Iran Act written by Assembly member Joel Anderson.

California has the largest pension fund in the nation for state employees. Its education retirement fund, which is also covered under the act, is the second largest in the nation.

The state has used divestment strategies to influence world affairs. In the 1980s, California divested from South Africa to protest its apartheid government, and last year Schwarzenegger signed two bills prohibiting the state’s pension funds from investing in companies that do business with Sudan.

“Last year I signed legislation to show our defiance against the inhumane murder and genocide in Sudan,” Schwarzenegger said as he signed the legislation. “This year I am pleased to support additional efforts to further prevent terrorism by doing what’s right with our investment portfolio and signing this legislation to divest from Iran.”

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