Sunday, December 28, 2014 Tevet 6, 5775

The Sque​eze on Iran: It Starts Here at Home

June 14, 2007
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just let loose with yet another of his patented broadsides against Israel. Adding to the long list of threats he's already made, Ahmadinejad said a countdown until the end of the Jewish state had begun.

Such language from a member of the United Nations about the life of a fellow U.N. state is not merely unacceptable, but potentially actionable. It is a patent violation of the U.N. Charter that ought not to be allowed to pass without censure.

But remember, this is not yet just another example of a wacky Muslim leader who engages in over-the-top rhetoric. Iran is a leading funder of terrorism around the world. Its efforts in this regard are directly connected not only with the deaths of Americans in neighboring Iraq, but of terrorism across the planet. It's also a nation with well-publicized nuclear ambitions that, when matched with its eliminationist talk about Israel, seems set on a path that could well end with genocide.

If, slowly but surely, the international community has started to come around to the realization that something must be done to curb Iran, then it's due to Ahmadinejad's venomous rhetoric. Recent statements from Europe and progress in the United Nations toward enacting meaningful economic sanctions against the Tehran regime give hope to the idea that this problem can be resolved peacefully. These countries are beginning to realize that Iran is not just a threat to Israel, but to the entire world.

It may well be that such sanctions will not serve as sufficient deterrence in and of themselves, and that eventually, a more forceful response to Iran will be necessary.

In the meantime, economic measures remain crucial because they show the people of Iran, as well as its Islamist government, that a price must be paid for such behavior. In the end, they'll have to choose between staying part of the international community or opting for the sort of complete isolation that exists for other rogue states, like North Korea.

So, what can Americans do about this besides urging our government to keep up the diplomatic offensive? Plenty.

The campaign against Iran is not something going on just at the United Nations. It can also be fought here in Pennsylvania.

First, we must urge the state legislature to adopt a measure forcing state-run pension funds to divest from all companies doing business with Iran and other terror-supporting states, such as Sudan (which continues to carry out a campaign of genocide in Darfur), Syria (which along with Iran materially aids the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups) and North Korea. Progress toward such a divestment program has already been made in other states -- namely, Florida and Missouri.

Resistance to divestment from some in the financial world has come primarily from those who argue that such measures hurt investors. While divestment takes some profitable options off the table, plenty of money can still be made in terror-free companies. After all, how many Pennsylvanians want their pensions and personal investments putting cold hard cash -- either directly or indirectly -- into the hands of a man like Ahmadinejad.

And that's exactly what companies who fund the Iranian oil industry and other vital sectors of their economy do. Such financial support not only works to encourage the production of nuclear weapons -- the same weapons Tehran wants to use to annihilate Israel -- but also winds up assisting those who are trying to kill American soldiers in Iraq.

We need to ask our legislators to demand that the Keystone State practice the ultimate in socially responsible investing. That's the very least we can ask of Harrisburg -- and of ourselves. 

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