- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

DENVER — A coalition of Republican officials in five states announced Tuesday the launch of Defund Iran, a November 2016 ballot movement to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to fund the Iran nuclear deal.

The coalition — led by former Missouri state treasurer Sarah Steelman, Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel and former Colorado House Minority Leader Mark Waller — seeks to amend state constitutions and statutes to stop state dollars from being invested in companies that do business with Iran.

“Our organization – Defund Iran – will take this fight to the voters and give them an opportunity to vote to put in their state constitutions the principle that tax dollars should never be invested in or spent with corporations doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism,” said Ms. Steelman in a statement.

In Arizona, House Speaker David Gowan and Arizona House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro are leading the effort, while Florida chief financial officer Jeff Atwater is heading up his state’s campaign.

Defund Iran’s goal is to place measures banning such investment on as many as 25 state ballots in November 2016. Organizers predicted that at least 15 states would be involved with Defund Iran by the end of September.

Organizers pointed to a provision of the White House’s Iran nuclear deal requiring the federal government to pressure state and local authorities to cooperate with the agreement. Thirty states now prevent investment in Iran.

The section says, “If a law at the state or local level in the United States is preventing the implementation of the sanctions lifting … the United States will take appropriate steps, taking into account all available authorities, with a view to achieving such implementation.”

“The Iran agreement has committed the United States government to use ‘all available authorities’ to rescind state anti-terrorism divestiture laws,” said Mr. Mandel in a statement. “We will use the authority of the ballot box. Let’s put it to a vote.”

House Minority Leader Harry Reid has said that he has the necessary 41 votes to uphold a filibuster and prevent the Senate from passing a “resolution of disapproval” of the Iran nuclear deal. Such a resolution not passing would leave the president a free hand to proceed with the deal.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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