January 22, 2008
Since there have already been almost 4000 military deaths and countless civilian fatalities in Iraq, shouldn't we search for non-military solutions before we go to war with Iran? Capital is the mother's milk of terrorists.
Divestment triumphed where diplomacy, international sanctions, and public condemnation against South Africa had previously failed. Without economic pressure, the government in Cape Town had no reason to oppose apartheid.
The economic and political case for divestment in Iran is compelling. Iran main industry is oil. National Iranian Oil Company Managing Director Gholamhossein Nozari has already admitted at an oil conference that Iran needs $94 billion of foreign investment by 2011 to bolster oil and gas production. There is an urgent need for this money because current output is dropping by 7% a year due to depletion and lack of upkeep at the wells. If Iran does not receive this investment, oil production will decline by 35% in five years.
Missouri State Treasurer Steelman said at a Washington press conference, It seems strange to me that we send men and women to defend freedom some of whom pay the ultimate sacrifice however, we have not yet used our most powerful weapon, America's financial markets.
Sarah Steelman continued, "I made the decision to divest after learning that the State of Missouri was doing business with BNP Paribas which lent $1 billion dollars to Iran. We kicked them off our broker-dealer list and put in place policies that said we won't do business with companies that do business in Iran.
California Assemblyman Joel Anderson said, When you're looking at the war on terrorists, this is one of the best weapons we have -- just defunding them.''
Steelman has answered the critics of terror free investing and shown it is a fiscally sound choice to make for both governments and individuals. In July of last year, the state of Missouri under Sarah Steelman became the first public agency to implement a terror free investment fund called the Missouri Investment Trust. Although it is a new fund, the returns are 74 basis points over the benchmark index for international equities in developed Asia and Europe. A back tested portfolio for five years showed that there would no impairment to performance. A terror free portfolio would match the benchmarks.