DeSantis to call for Israel special session, heighten sanctions against Iran

by | Oct 20, 2023

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to call a special legislative session aimed at imposing tougher sanctions on Iran, reinforcing the state’s alignment with Israel.
  • The new sanctions would expand on existing prohibitions against Iranian-owned businesses in Florida, targeting sectors like finance, construction, and technology, among others.
  • Following initial reports, Rep. Fentrice Driskell criticized DeSantis, suggesting his motives are tied to bolstering his presidential campaign.

Gov. Ron DeSantis will soon call for a special session focused on ramping up sanctions against Iran and reemphasizing Florida’s support for Israel amid growing geopolitical tensions.

As confirmed by DeSantis Spokesperson Jeremy Redfern, the forthcoming convening of lawmakers will serve to implement increased sanctions against Iran, a measure first proposed by the governor ten days ago and subsequently supported by House and Senate GOP leaders.

“I can confirm that the strongest sanctions against Iran by any state in the nation, as proposed by Gov. DeSantis, will be part of an upcoming special session, “Redfern told The Capitolist. “The details, including the date and scope, are being worked out between legislative leadership and our office.”

On Oct. 10, DeSantis proposed an expansion of existing bans on Iranian-owned businesses operating in Florida. The proposed legislation would extend sanctions to various sectors, including finance, construction, manufacturing, textile, technology, mining, metals, shipping, shipbuilding, and ports.

“We should use all available avenues to choke off money going to the Iranian regime,” said DeSantis. “These will be, by far, the strongest Iran sanctions that any state has enacted through this country.”

Further, the proposed sanctions would prohibit state and local governments from contracting with companies that fall under the expanded sectors list. The governor also indicated that the sanctions would only be lifted when both the U.S. President and Congress certify that Iran has ceased its support for international terrorism and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

“We look forward to working with the legislature to show Florida’s continued support for Israel,” commented Redfern.

Following initial reports of the special session, House Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell scrutinized the move, insinuating that the governor is only making the call to jumpstart his presidential campaign.

“This looks like yet another case of Ron DeSantis using the Legislature to try to help his failing presidential campaign,” said Driskell. “We will be watching closely to make sure Floridians’ tax dollars aren’t wasted trying to impress out-of-state GOP primary voters.”

DeSantis’ policy failures at home have left Floridians paying the most for homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, and rent in the country. I think Floridians would prefer their Governor spend as much time addressing these pocketbook issues here as he spends on his ambitions.”

Florida has previously implemented sanctions targeting business activities with Iran as part of the Protecting Florida’s Investments Act (PFIA). Under this act, the State Board of Administration (SBA) is required to maintain a list of “Scrutinized Companies” engaged in certain prohibited operations within Iran. These operations predominantly include activities within the petroleum or energy sector, oil or mineral extraction, power production, or military support in Iran.

Companies designated as Scrutinized Companies under PFIA face specific restrictions including the acquisition of securities issued by these companies, and, in certain instances, may be obligated to divest existing holdings unless corrective actions are taken to cease prohibited activities. The sanctions also extend to the SBA’s investment activities, preventing it from investing in U.S. institutions or companies conducting business with Iran.



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