Brown asks CalPERS, STRS to sever ties to Iran-linked firms

State Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday urged the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers’ Retirement System to “honor the state law” and divest themselves from companies doing business in Iran.

Brown, a likely candidate for governor this year, said the pension funds should “show some leadership and stop supporting companies that do business with a tyrannical regime.” He said the pension funds’ annual reports did not include necessary information about divestiture.

An October 2007 state law requires CalPERS and STRS to “annually report holdings in companies doing business in the defense, nuclear, petroleum, and natural gas industries in Iran and to divest from any company that fails to take substantial action to cease or limit operations in Iran,” Brown’s office said.

The attorney general said both pension funds filed annual reports at the end of last year, but that those documents did not say whether investments in companies with ties to Iran have been reduced and did not give a timeline of divestiture.

“What it boils down to is that he is looking for some additional information that is not in the report, and we’d be happy to consider it (his request),” said CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco.

CalPERS has more than 1.6 million members and more than $200 billion in assets. CalSTRS is the largest teachers’ retirement fund in the country with 833,000 members and more than $130 billion in assets.

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