Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ronald Reagan

fortieth U.S. PresidentMy fellow Americans, there's an old saying that 'nothing spreads so quickly as a rumor,' so I thought it was time to speak with you directly, to tell you first hand about our dealings with Iran. On November 13, 1986, President Ronald Reagan gave a televised address in which he defended secret U.S. arms sales to Iran. Ten days before, a Lebanese magazine had exposed the operation, explaining that the clandestine sales were carried out in the hope of securing the release of American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. U.S. intelligence sources confirmed the sales, and on November 13, President Reagan explained that they had been implemented in order to improve U.S.-Iranian relations, to bring an end to the Iran-Iraq War, and to secure the release of U.S. hostages. However, on November 25, the Justice Department announced that proceeds from the Iran arms sales had been diverted to support of anti-Communist Contras fighting in Nicaragua. Revelations about the Iran-Contra connection caused outrage in Congress, which in 1983 had passed the Boland amendments prohibiting the Defense Department, the CIA, or any other government agency from providing military aid to the Contras. In December, Lawrence E. Walsh was named special prosecutor to investigate the matter, and thus began the Iran-Contra affair, in which thirteen top White House, State Department, and intelligence officials were indicted on charges ranging from perjury to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Although President Reagan was heavily implicated in the final congressional report, he was not indicted in the Iran-Contra criminal trials.


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