House passes Iran sanctions legislation

WASHINGTON  (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives enacted legislation authorizing state and local governments to divest from companies doing business with Iran’s energy sector.

The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, sponsored by Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), passed Wednesday by a vote of 414-6.

The measure allows for state and local governments to divest from companies that invest in Iran’s petroleum and natural gas industries or do business with Iran’s nuclear industry.

It also provides for divesting from any company providing tankers or any product used to construct or maintain pipelines that transport Iranian oil or liquefied natural gas, as well as any financial institution that offers a $20 million line of credit to anyone investing in Iran’s energy sector.

The legislation protects fund managers who divest from such companies from possible lawsuits.

Similiar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. President Obama, when he was an Illinois senator, was the lead sponsor of a Senate version in 2008, although the White House has not yet taken a position on the bill.

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