Published September 8, 2015 | Tagged: , , ,
By: By Sarah Steelman, Josh Mandel, and Mark Waller

Elected officials need an occasional reminder that the money they spend doesn’t belong to them, but to the people they were elected to represent.

Since 2005, we have been working in our respective states to ensure that taxpayer money does not find its way into the hands of State Sponsors of Terrorism, like Iran. We collectively have not met a person who thinks it wise to spend or invest the people’s money with terror states like Iran, who hold our citizens, soldiers and journalists hostage, who are committed to harming America and the destruction of our ally Israel.

Yet President Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement commits the full force of the Federal government to use “all available authorities” to pressure states to do just that. Paragraph 25 of the Iran Nuclear agreement requires:

“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.”

Concurring, Secretary of State John Kerry has testified to Congress that the administration would take steps to pressure states to rescind their terrorism divestiture laws.

We are adamant that individual states will not be forced by this administration, or any other, into succumbing to the Iranian Nuclear Agreement by no longer enforcing their respective sanctions against terrorists. Rather than rescind terrorism divestiture laws, it’s time we strengthen and codify in our state constitutions the restrictions against investing or spending the people’s money to finance terrorists.

State leaders and concerned citizens throughout the country want to take action. The three of us representing Missouri, Ohio and Colorado join together along with leaders in Arizona and Florida, to begin a movement we call Defund Iran.  (

Our goal is to combat this abuse of federal power by placing on the ballot in 2016, in as many states as possible, state constitutional amendments codifying and strengthening state Terrorism Divestiture laws and policies that would prevent taxpayer dollars from being invested in, or contracted with, any individual, business or corporation that does business with any country designated by the US State Department as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, including Iran.

In a recent national poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, 70% of Americans say they support this type of ballot measure.  Why? Because Americans are worried about the security of our nation and don’t know how to stop this agreement.

This ballot measure empowers people to participate in helping fight the war on terror. It sends a message to Washington that we citizens are not going to sit idly by and watch our country succumb to an agreement that provides a cash bonus to a terrorist sponsoring state. It allows the people to send a clear message that this is our money, and we don’t want it spent with terrorists.

The founders designed our Constitution giving the President the power to enter into treaties provided it is ratified with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, and that the treaty does not contravene the U.S. Constitution.   The founders understood the people would be heard loud and clear through their respective U.S. Senators regarding treaties.  In the case of the Iranian Nuclear agreement, both the U.S. Constitution and the voice of the people are being ignored.

The agreement has committed the United States government to use “all available authorities” to rescind anti-terrorism divestiture laws. We will use authority of the ballot box.

We start today in five states, the effort to give the people the chance to protect their money from terrorists.

Let’s put it to a vote.


Sarah Steelman is the National Chairwoman of Defund Iran and the former Missouri State Treasurer. In 2006, because of her efforts, Missouri became the first state to divest from companies doing business with Iran

Josh Mandel is the Ohio State Treasurer and an Iraq War Veteran

Mark Waller is the former Colorado House Minority Leader and an Iraq War Veteran.

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