Iran General NewsMcCain to urge nations to cut funds to Iran

McCain to urge nations to cut funds to Iran


ImageUSA Today: Presidential hopeful John McCain Monday will call on corporations and government institutions worldwide to pull their money out of Iran as a way to pressure the regime into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

USA Today

By David Jackson, USA TODAY

ImageWASHINGTON — Presidential hopeful John McCain Monday will call on corporations and government institutions worldwide to pull their money out of Iran as a way to pressure the regime into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

McCain's speech, to be given in Washington before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), says a private "divestment" campaign similar to that which helped bring down apartheid in South Africa is needed to safeguard Israel and the United States.

"We should privatize the sanctions against Iran by launching a worldwide divestment campaign," he says. "As more people, businesses, pension funds and financial institutions across the world divest from companies doing business with Iran, the radical elite who run that country will become even more unpopular than they are already."

McCain also tweaked Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's suggestion of holding unconditional talks with Iran.

"Rather than sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader, … we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully but decisively change the path they are on," he says.

The Iranian government says its nuclear program is for energy. A National Intelligence Estimate released in December said Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report last week saying Iran may be withholding information needed to establish whether it is trying to make nuclear arms.

McCain argues that Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions and that a nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the Middle East and pose an "existential threat" to Israel.

Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said the Illinois senator, who addresses AIPAC on Wednesday, co-sponsored an Iran disinvestment program in 2007, which McCain did not sign onto.

Sevugan also said McCain's calls to get tough with Iran are undercut by his support of the war in Iraq. "Nothing has done more to strengthen and embolden Iran than the war in Iraq," he said.

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Iran for decades. McCain will call for expanding them to the Central Bank of Iran, "which aids in Iran's terrorism and weapons proliferation."

The Arizona senator also calls for applying "the full force of law" to prevent U.S. businesses dealing with Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. Senate designated a terrorist organization last year.

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