Harvard students lobby alumni lawmakers on Iran

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Harvard students leading an Iran divestment campaign at the university traveled to Washington to garner support from alumni serving in Congress.

The student-led campaign calls for the Ivy League school to divest from companies conducting more than $20 million in business with Iran’s energy sector.

“This divestment is in recognition that those funds help to fund Iran’s illicit nuclear program,” said a statement from the group.

If successful, Harvard would join Morehouse College as U.S. universities divesting from Iran.

Harvard alumni last week visited Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), as well as Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Artur Davis (D-Ala.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Walter Minnick (D-Idaho), Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.), Tom Petri (R-Wisc.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

Legislation passed through both houses of Congress last year enabling state pension plans, and county and city entities, to divest from companies doing business with Iran. The $20 million benchmark is typical of past sanctions legislation, although bills under consideration would shrink the threshold to as little as $1 million.

Harvard in the past has divested from tobacco companies, South Africa because of its apartheid regime, Russell Athletic and PetroChina.  

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