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Uploaded on May 27, 2009
The Iran-Contra affair was a political scandal in the United States which came to light in November 1986, during the Reagan administration, in which senior US figures agreed to facilitate the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo, to secure the release of hostages and to fund Nicuraguan Contras.
The affair was composed of arms sales to Iran, and funding of Contra militants in Nicaragua. Direct funding of the Nicaraguan rebels had been made illegal through the Boland Amendment. The affair emerged when a Lebanese newspaper reported that the U.S. sold arms to Iran through Israel in exchange for the release of hostages by Hezbollah. Letters sent by Oliver North to John Poindexter support this. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. says that the reason weapons were eventually sold directly to Iran was to establish links with elements of the military in the country. The Contras did not receive all of their finances from arms sales, but also through drug trafficking.