Iran Contra Affair Facts

Iran Contra Affair Facts
The Iran-Contra Affair was a major political scandal that took place during the second term of the presidency of Ronald Reagan (in power 1981-1989). The scandal involved officials in the Reagan administration covertly shipping arms to Iran and its ally, the Shiite paramilitary group Hezbollah, and then using the proceeds to fund the right-wing insurgency group, the Contras in Nicaragua. The purpose of the arms shipments to Iran were to ostensibly free American hostages being held by Hezbollah in Lebanon, although evidence shows that the shipments began before any hostages were ever taken by the group. Besides the arms trading taking place outside of official channels, it violated several American laws and policies. First, Iran had been an official enemy of the United States since the Islamic Revolution of 1977 and there was no official communication between the two countries. Second, The Democrat controlled U.S. Congress limited American support for the Contras under the Boland Amendment and ensured that all support must go through official channels. Although Reagan himself was never directly implicated in the scandal, fourteen members of his administration were indicted and eleven of them were convicted on various charges. All of the convictions were either vacated or pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. The Iran-Contra scandal was a politically polarizing scandal: the left believed that it was an example of Reagan's abuse of power, while the right believed the actions Reagan's people took were necessary to help the hostages and to stop the advance of communism.
Interesting Iran Contra Affair Facts:
The Democrat controlled Congress ran hearings on the affair from May to August 1987.
The Congressional "majority report," which was issued by the Democrats, blamed the National Security Council for running its own foreign policy through private contractors, although it didn't personally blame the president.
Most of those indicted on crimes related to the Iran-Contra Affair were charged with "process crimes:" perjury, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, etc.
The most notable person charged was Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. North was indicted on obstruction of justice based primarily on the testimony of his secretary, Fawn Hall.
The hearings were broadcast on CSPAN, which is how Oliver North became a household name. He appeared at the hearings wearing his Marine uniform, complete with all of his combat medals from Vietnam.
Although Israel and Iran were enemies, and still are, Israel was the middleman in the arms sales to Iran.
The New York Times broke the scandal in 1986.
President Reagan ordered his own investigation of the scandal, known as the Tower Commission, in 1986. Although the Tower Commission absolved Reagan of criminal liability, it did state that he was negligent and should have known what his subordinates were doing.
Reagan at first denied that anything wrong had happened on his watch, but once the Congressional reports and the Tower Commission reports came out he admitted the scandal had taken place.


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