The Iran-Contra crisis erupted in 1986, during President Ronald Reagan's second term, when it was revealed that senior administration officials had secretly—and in violation of existing laws—arranged for the transfer of weaponry to Iran in exchange for Iran's pledge of nuclear cooperation. The revelations caused an international uproar and undermined public support for Reagan's foreign policy.
The Iran-Contra Affair has been described as a pseudo-crisis that served to distract attention from the administration's failure to fight inflation at home while pursuing conservative policies abroad.
How did this come about? In November 1985, the government of Nicaragua granted political asylum to Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North. North had been charged with violating federal law by engaging in covert activities on behalf of the CIA during the Carter administration. However, after being appointed chief of the National Security Council (NSC) for President Reagan, North continued to engage in such activities, without reporting them to Congress or the president. This led to the creation of the Iran-Contra committee, which investigated these activities.
What actions did Congress take against those involved? One hundred and fifty members of Congress demanded that those responsible be held accountable for their actions. Five individuals were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury: John Nields, Robert Mardian, Edward G. McGary, Jr., William E. Colby and Albert W. Sacks.
The Iran-Contra affair (Persian: yrn-khntr, Spanish: case Iran-Contra), often known as Irangate, Contragate, or the Iran-Contra scandal, was a political controversy in the United States that broke in November 1986. The term "Iran-Contra" refers to the fact that the incident involved the sale of American weapons to Iran and their covert transport to Nicaragua by the Reagan administration.
It was discovered by a congressional committee investigating the situation. President Ronald W. Reagan acknowledged the existence of the sales but claimed that they were not illegal because Congress had voted to approve them. A number of other high-level officials have since come forward with accounts contradicting this claim.
The incident can be traced back to October 5, 1985 when the president signed off on a secret plan to supply arms to Iranian resistance groups who were fighting against the government of Iraq during its war with Iran. The decision was made without consulting Congress as required by law.
This set off a chain reaction of events that would lead to the exposure of the nation's most secretive policies and practices. On November 4, 1985, an airplane carrying supplied weapons crashed in Lebanon killing all aboard including an American serviceman and destroying any chance of obtaining Iraqi permission for further shipments.
What was the Iran Contra Affair all about? A covert operation in which the US government discreetly gave weaponry to a recognized enemy while also providing financial assistance to a rebel army. Both of those activities were against the law. Because the US Congress supplied armaments to Iran unlawfully, America's national security was put at risk. The fundings for the rebels came from the same source as the arms - the US Treasury. That is also illegal because it uses taxpayer money for personal gain.
The Iran Contra affair was an international incident that involved the secret sale of weapons by the United States to Iran and its subsequent transfer to anti-government forces in Nicaragua. The term "Iran Contra" became synonymous with any large-scale unauthorized military action undertaken by the United States without official authorization from Congress.
The Iran Contra affair began in April 1985 when then president Ronald Reagan signed off on a plan proposed by secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger to provide arms to Iranian government enemies of Moscow-backed dictator Khomeini. The deal was designed to prevent Soviet troops from coming into conflict with pro-American factions in Tehran during the upcoming presidential election. American officials believed they had permission from Congress to supply weapons to Iran, as the National Security Act of 1947 allows the president to authorize the sale of defensive equipment - such as missiles - to other countries.