NEW YORK (JTA) – The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management board has divested its holdings in companies tied to Iran’s energy industry.
The divestment, announced Tuesday in a news release, fulfilled a state law encouraging the pensions board to pressure Iran to cease its nuclear weapons program in the Persian Gulf.
“Our prompt response to the call to divest sends a clear signal that the actions of Iran will not be tolerated on the international stage or in the boardroom,” said Steven Grossman, the Massachusetts state treasurer and chair of the pensions board. “Targeted sanctions on Iran offer the best prospect for deterring the Iranian aggression that threatens the security of the United States and its allies, including Israel.”
The divestment became official on Dec. 30. In its aftermath, some companies severed ties with Iran and subsequently were dropped from the pensions board’s restricted list.
“This is proof positive that sanctions work," Grossman said. “Major corporations changed their behavior in response to the prohibitions, resulting in increased economic pressure on Iran.”
A number of other pension funds reportedly are severing ties with Iran, but Massachusetts was the first state to fully divest.