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Kittrie testifies before D.C. city council

October 14, 2008

Professor Orde Kittrie, of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, recently testified before a Washington, D.C., City Council committee about a bill to require the divestment of municipal employee pension funds from certain companies which do business with Iran.

The Oct. 8 hearing was before the Council's Committee on Finance and Revenue.

Kittrie discussed the legal and economic questions relating to the bill, including the bill's constitutionality, relevant Congressional legislation, the divestment measures which have already been enacted in several other states including Arizona, and financial risks associated with investments in companies doing business with Iran.

Kittrie also provided political context for the legislation, noting that presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Barak Obama (D-Ill.) and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others have emphasized that stronger economic sanctions on Iran, including pension divestment, are essential if Iran is to be peacefully persuaded to stop its illicit nuclear weapons development program.

Kittrie is a leading expert on nuclear nonproliferation and especially nuclear nonproliferation legal issues and sanctions.  Kittrie has testified before both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate on nonproliferation issues this year and currently serves on a 12-member commission created by Congress to make recommendations on U.S. nonproliferation policy.  Kittrie also currently serves as chair of the Nonproliferation, Arms Control & Disarmament Committee of the American Society of International Law and chair of the Nonproliferation, Arms Control & Disarmament Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.  Kittrie has also testified before the Ohio and Maryland state legislatures, and advised several other state legislatures, regarding proposed legislation that would divest state pension funds from foreign companies doing business with Iran.

Prior to joining the ASU law faculty in 2004, Kittrie served for 11 years at the U.S. Department of State, including as the State Department's Senior Attorney for Nuclear Affairs.  In that capacity, he negotiated five nuclear non-proliferation agreements between the United States and Russia as well as a UN treaty against nuclear terrorism.