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Mass. pension fund divests from companies with ties to Iran

The Massachusetts state pension fund has completed its previously announced plan to divest from any companies in Iran. The move followed passage of a state law in 2010 to pressure the Middle Eastern country to halt its nuclear weapons program and other destabilizing programs.

The $48 billion retirement fund was among the first state funds to divest, Treasurer Steven Grossman said.

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“Our prompt response to the call to divest sends a clear signal that the actions of Iran will not be tolerated on the international stage or in the boardroom,’’ Grossman said in a statement. He is chairman of the pension fund’s board.

Under the state mandate, the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board hired an outside firm to develop a list of companies with significant business interests in Iran’s energy sector, to be targeted for divestment. The state sold off those securities, and some of the companies severed their ties with Iran and were therefore dropped from the restricted list. The state did not immediately give the dollar value of the divestments.

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