GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: the Near/Middle East
November 1986: The arms-for-hostages deal that comes to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair comes to light.

After a week of denying any covert activities, U.S. president Ronald Reagan publicly confirms that the U.S. secretly sold arms to Iran, using Israel as an intermediary, with the goal of improving relations with Iran. Reagan later admits the arrangement had become a swap -- arms assistance in return for hostages in Lebanon. The American public is outraged by the dealings with a hostile Iran, as well as with Reagan himself, for breaking his campaign promise to never enter into such negotiations. Some of the arms profits are later discovered to have been diverted to illegally aid Nicaraguan Contra rebels, who are locked in combat with the Communist-backed Sandinistas.

PBS Reagan: The Iran-Contra Affair /peopleevents/pande08.html

Ronald Reagan's efforts to eradicate communism spanned the globe, but the insurgent Contras' cause in Nicaragua was particularly dear to him.

PBS Reagan: Speech About Iran-Contra /nf/resource/reagan/primdocs/irancontra .html

In 1987, former U.S. president Ronald Reagan delivers a speech about the Iran-Contra Affair.

PBS Campaigns Under Investigation: The Congressional Hearing in Historical Context /july97/historians_7-21.html

NewsHour historians, joined by former senator Warren Rudman (R-NH), discuss the historical role of congressional investigations and look at how the Senate investigation into campaign fund-raising fits in. (July 1997)