NJ Senate passes Iran resolution

NJ Senate passes Iran resolution

State Senate president Stephen Sweeney
State Senate president Stephen Sweeney

The Community Relations Committee of MetroWest’s Stop Iran committee welcomed the June 29 State Senate passage of SCR-158, a resolution aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program by urging the federal government to intervene more strongly in Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. Prime sponsors of the bill were state Senate president Stephen Sweeney (D-Dist. 3) and Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Dist. 12); cosponsors included Senators James Beach (D-Dist. 6), Barbara Buono (D-Dist. 18), Tom Kean (R-Dist. 21), Loretta Weinberg (D-Dist. 37), and Jim Whelan (D-Dist. 2).

“President Ahmadinejad and his quest to obtain nuclear weapons pose a dire threat to the United States, the stability of the Middle East, including Israel, and the world,” said Jim Daniels, chair of the NJ Stop Iran Now Task Force. “We applaud the leadership of the NJ Senate to call for effective implementation of sanctions against companies doing business with Iran and the elimination of loopholes…. Americans must stand united in their opposition to a nuclear armed Iran.”

The Stop Iran Now Campaign, led by the CRC of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, along with the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations and its affiliated federations and community relations network, were instrumental in securing the Senate adoption of SCR-158.

“The New Jersey State Senate has once again voiced its concern that Iran must be prevented from securing a nuclear capability,” Sweeney said upon the resolution’s approval. “The state was one of the leaders nationally in securing an Iran divestiture law. Now, with unanimous and bipartisan approval of my senate colleagues, New Jersey again leads the way to ensure that sanctions against Iran remain in force and are enforced.”

New Jersey was one of the first states to pass Iranian divestment legislation and has divested itself of more than 14.5 million shares (worth $489.1 million) of companies that are doing business with Iran.

“The unanimous passage of this resolution in the New Jersey State Senate recognizes the fact that Iran poses a danger to the free world. The federal government should take swift action to ensure that the full force of economic sanctions is brought to bear on Iran,” Weinberg said.

Last summer, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act into law that would penalize companies that support Iran’s petroleum sector. The NJ Task Force is working to ensure that all loopholes that allow U.S. companies to invest in Iran’s energy sector are eliminated in New Jersey and nationally. Despite the existence of the new sanctions, only one firm has been sanctioned this year; U.S. domiciled corporations continue to do business with Iran.

This resolution urges the federal government to utilize additional sanctions, financial divestment, and increased diplomatic pressure to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear program. The companion resolution was passed in the Assembly in early May.

“The unanimous vote of the NJ State Senate sends a strong message from our state that a nuclear Iran is a threat to peace in the world. Sanctions have had some success but only aggressive and immediate implementation of those sanctions will ensure a change in Iran’s dangerous behavior,” said Ruth Cole, president of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations.

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