Senate panel debates divestment in Iran

Associated PressJanuary 31, 2012 

JUNEAU -- An Alaska Senate committee is considering a bill that would ban investments in companies that conduct business in Iran.

Supporters of the bill describe Iran as a leading threat to national security. But there are concerns about the effects of enacting a ban and the precedent it would set.

An estimated $79 million is invested in companies invested in Iran's oil and gas development. That's about 0.1 percent of the Alaska Permanent Fund's overall investments.

During a Senate State Affairs Committee hearing, Sen. Kevin Meyer questioned whether this would set a precedent by limiting where the Permanent Fund could make investments.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, the bill's sponsor, said the bill is very narrow, and other investments could be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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