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Florida lawmakers back state sanctions on Iran over Israel-Hamas war

Lawmakers held a bipartisan event to show support for Israel.
 
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner, right, and President of the Florida Senate Kathleen Passidomo endorse and encourage Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president, after attending a bill signing ceremony with DeSantis at the Coastal Community Church at Lighthouse Point, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Lighthouse Point, Fla.
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner, right, and President of the Florida Senate Kathleen Passidomo endorse and encourage Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president, after attending a bill signing ceremony with DeSantis at the Coastal Community Church at Lighthouse Point, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Lighthouse Point, Fla. [ Associated Press (2023) ]
Published Oct. 18, 2023

Legislative leaders Wednesday vowed to move forward with a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis to increase state sanctions against Iran, as they held a bipartisan event to show support for Israel after the surprise attack by Hamas this month.

“We condemn these acts, and we pray for Israeli victory and for peace,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said amid a crowd of lawmakers gathered on the fourth floor of the Capitol.

DeSantis announced Oct. 10 he would ask lawmakers to further block Iranian business ties in Florida in a way “that will make a difference in terms of the substance, but I think symbolically, be also important.”

The federal government, which hasn’t had a formal diplomatic relationship with Iran since 1979, when Iranians took over the American embassy, hasn’t directly linked Iran with the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. But it has said leaders in Tehran have provided Hamas with money and materials.

“We know the Iranian regime funds Hamas and assists other terror groups,” state House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said.

After the event, Renner wouldn’t rule out lawmakers addressing DeSantis’ request in the next few weeks. The 2024 legislative session will begin Jan. 9, but DeSantis and legislative leaders can call special sessions.

“Unique times call for unique responses,” Renner told reporters. “This is going to be an ongoing commitment.”

Since 2008, Florida has prohibited state agencies and local governments from contracting for goods and services of more than $1 million with any business that has contracts with the Iranian government. But DeSantis wants lawmakers to go further after the Hamas attack.

The U.S. imposes numerous sanction programs that restrict access to the United States for companies that engage in certain commercial activities in Iran.