The Iran-Contra Affair was a political scandal that occurred during the second term of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The scandal resulted from the convergence of two national security challenges plaguing the Reagan administration. The scandal began after the administration decided to covertly sell arms to the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the hopes of gaining Iranian aid in freeing American hostages held in Lebanon. Some members of the Reagan administration then diverted the profits from those arms sales to fund an anticommunist rebel group in Nicaragua; the U.S. Congress had expressly forbidden this action. Although several high-level officials were implicated in the scandal, Reagan denied any direct knowledge of the events. This entry provides background information for understanding the Iran-Contra Affair and then discusses the scandal ...

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