Jeff Atwater slams Iran nuclear deal
CFO Jeff Atwater

atwater, jeff

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Friday said the pending nuclear deal with Iran was a “direct assault” on the state’s own position not to support “sponsors of terror.”

The deal, worked out between Iran and a group of world powers including the United States, will limit Iran’s ability to use nuclear technology in return for lifting financial and other sanctions against the country.

But Florida passed its own law “requiring divestment of public funds from companies that do business with Iran,” said Atwater, a former bank executive. He co-sponsored the measure in 2007 while in the Florida Senate.

He sent a letter to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner urging them to “protect and preserve our divestment policies.”

Atwater sees it as a states’ rights issue.

“A state can invest funds – or not invest funds – where it chooses,” he said in an unusually lengthy statement. “The federal government cannot force states to do business, either directly or indirectly, with regimes that fund terrorism and systematically abuse human rights.”

He added: “In the very text of its agreement with Iran, this administration, with disturbing clarity, memorialized its commitment to induce states into abandoning their anti-terrorism policies.

“Our federal government may choose to open wide the spigot of American dollars to the world’s most vigorous supporter of terror, but we, the American people and its sovereign states, do not have to do the same,” Atwater said.

“Floridians should remain proud of the trailblazing reforms we enacted to repudiate terrorism and endorse the goal of eliminating the funding that makes it possible,” he said. “We stand firm on the founding principle of federalism and the states’ rights that accompany it.”

When Florida enacted its divestment law, “we could not have dreamed that our country’s leadership would enter into an agreement at odds with the sentiments of most Americans and engage with a state that openly sponsors terror, holds American hostages, threatens the stability of an entire region, seeks to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth, and whose leaders presently call for ‘Death to America,’ ” he said. “But that is the reality we live in today.”

“… Florida (should) lead the charge – just as we did in establishing our sanctions – to shield states from the federal government’s attacks on our sound and bipartisan policy against funding terror.”

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


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