The Iran–Contra affair was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo.Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
The Iran–Contra affair, often referred to as the Iran–Contra scandal, or simply Iran–Contra, was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan administration. Between 1981 and 1986, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. The administration hoped to use the proceeds of the arms sale to fund the Contras, a right-wing rebel group, in Nicaragua. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by government appropriations had been prohibited by Congress, but the loophole was to use non-appropriated funds.
The Boland Amendment is a term describing two U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984, both aimed at limiting U.S. government assistance to the Contras in Nicaragua. The first Boland Amendment was part of the House Appropriations Bill of 1982, which was attached as a rider to the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983, named for the Massachusetts Democrat, Representative Edward Boland, who authored it. The House of Representatives passed the Defense Appropriations Act 411–0 on December 8, 1982, and it was signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 21, 1982. The amendment outlawed U.S. assistance to the Contras for the purpose of overthrowing the Nicaraguan government, while allowing assistance for other purposes.
William Joseph Casey was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1981 to 1987. In this capacity he oversaw the entire United States Intelligence Community and personally directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Michael Arthur Ledeen is an American historian and neoconservative foreign policy analyst. He is a former consultant to the United States National Security Council, the United States Department of State, and the United States Department of Defense. He held the Freedom Scholar chair at the American Enterprise Institute where he was a scholar for twenty years and now holds the similarly named chair at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He was very close to Antonio Martino.
Robert Carl "Bud" McFarlane was an American Marine Corps officer who served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1983 to 1985. Within the Reagan administration, McFarlane was a leading architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative, a project intended to defend the US from Soviet ballistic missile attacks. He resigned as National Security Adviser in late 1985 because of disagreements with other administration figures but remained involved in negotiations with Iran and with Hezbollah.
Ronald Reagan's tenure as the 40th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 1981, and ended on January 20, 1989. Reagan, a Republican from California, took office following a landslide victory over Democratic incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. Four years later, in the 1984 election, he defeated Democrat former vice president Walter Mondale to win re-election in a larger landslide. Reagan was succeeded by his vice president, George H. W. Bush. Reagan's 1980 election resulted from a dramatic conservative shift to the right in American politics, including a loss of confidence in liberal, New Deal, and Great Society programs and priorities that had dominated the national agenda since the 1930s.
Theodore George "Ted" Shackley, Jr. was an American CIA officer involved in many important and controversial CIA operations during the 1960s and 1970s. He is one of the most decorated CIA officers. Due to his "light hair and mysterious ways", Shackley was known to his colleagues as "the Blond Ghost".
The October Surprise conspiracy theory refers to an allegation that representatives of Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign made a secret deal with Iranian leaders to delay the release of American hostages until after the election between Reagan and President Jimmy Carter, the incumbent. The detention of 66 Americans in Iran, held in hostage since November 4, 1979, was one of the leading national issues during 1980, and the alleged goal of the deal was to thwart Carter from pulling off an "October surprise". Reagan won the election, and, on the day of his inauguration—minutes after he concluded his 20-minute inaugural address—the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the release of the hostages.
Manucher Ghorbanifar is an expatriate Iranian arms dealer and former SAVAK agent.
The Tower Commission was a United States presidential commission established on December 1, 1986, by President Ronald Reagan in response to the Iran–Contra affair. The commission, composed of former Senator John Tower of Texas, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, was tasked with reviewing the proper role of the National Security Council staff in national security operations generally, and in the arms transfers to Iran specifically.
The presidency of Ronald Reagan in the United States was marked by numerous scandals, resulting in the investigation, indictment, or conviction of over 138 administration officials, the largest number for any president in American history.
The main goal of the US foreign policy during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–1989) was winning the Cold War and the rollback of communism—which was achieved in the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe during 1989; in the German reunification in 1990; and in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Historians debate whom to credit, and how much. They agree that victory in the Cold War made the U.S. the world's only superpower, one with good relations with former communist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe.
The Lebanon hostage crisis was the kidnapping in Lebanon of 104 foreign hostages between 1982 and 1992, when the Lebanese Civil War was at its height. The hostages were mostly Americans and Western Europeans, but 21 national origins were represented. At least eight hostages died in captivity; some were murdered, while others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses. During the fifteen years of the Lebanese civil war an estimated 17,000 people disappeared after being abducted.
CIA activities in Nicaragua have been ongoing since the 1980s. The increasing influence gained by the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a left-wing and anti-imperialist political party in Nicaragua, led to a sharp decrease in Nicaragua–United States relations, particularly after the Nicaraguan Revolution. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to support the Contras, a right-wing Nicaraguan political group to combat the influence held by the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan government. Various anti-government rebels in Nicaragua were organized into the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the first Contra group, at the behest of the CIA. The CIA also supplied the Contras with training and equipment, including materials related to torture and assassination. There have also been allegations that the CIA engaged in drug trafficking in Nicaragua.
Israel's role in the Iran–Iraq War consisted of support provided by Israel to Iran during the Iran–Iraq War from 1980 to 1988. During the war, Israel was one of the main suppliers of military equipment to Iran. Israel also provided military instructors during the war and direct support to Iran's war effort, when it bombed and destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, during Operation Opera. The nuclear reactor was a central component of Iraq's nuclear weapons program.
George W. Cave was a CIA operations officer and authority on Iran who later reluctantly took part in the Iran–Contra affair at the behest of CIA Director William J. Casey.
Cyrus Hashemi was an Iranian arms dealer linked to the Iran-Contra affair, Brokers of Death arms case, and October Surprise conspiracy theory. Robert Dreyfuss claimed Hashemi was a CIA and Mossad agent; Hashemi sued Dreyfuss and Lyndon LaRouche, whose Executive Intelligence Review had accused Hashemi of being linked to the alleged "funding of Iranian terrorism in the United States," with the case dismissed in June 1983 due to Hashemi's failure to respond to legal documents. Hashemi died from acute myeloblastic leukemia July 1986 in London.
Roy M. Furmark was an American businessman who played a role in the Iran-Contra affair in a number of ways, including acting as a link between CIA Director William Casey and Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi, who financed the arms deal at the center of the affair. In 1986 the Los Angeles Times reported that Furmark had known Casey and Khashoggi for about 20 years.
Richard John Brenneke was a US businessman who testified in 1988 that he had worked in Southeast Asia with the Central Intelligence Agency's Air America, among other roles.
Robert William Jackson is a US Navy veteran who served as a second class petty officer on the USS Kitty Hawk and became a whistleblower. In the eighties, Jackson denounced the use of the USS Kitty Hawk to sell F-14 parts and missiles to Iran illegally. Later, it was discovered that this ring of smugglers was part of a wider operation involving three different US Navy carriers, and an essential part of a more significant conspiracy, later referred to as the Iran–Contra affair.