iran-contra affair

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Iran-Contra Affair
U.S. political scandal. In 1985 Robert McFarlane, head of the National Security Council (NSC), authorized sales of weapons to Iran in an attempt to secure the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian terrorist groups. The deal contravened stated policy regarding both dealings with terrorists and military aid to Iran. At the instigation of Oliver North, a NSC staff member, and with the approval of John M. Poindexter, part of the $48 million paid by Iran for the arms was diverted to the Nicaraguan contras, in direct violation of a 1984 law banning such assistance. A Senate investigation resulted in the conviction of North and Poindexter on charges of obstructing justice and related offenses, though their convictions were later overturned on the ground that testimony given at their trials had been influenced by information they had supplied to Congress under a limited grant of immunity. Pres. Ronald Reagan accepted responsibility for the arms-for-hostages deal but denied any knowledge of the diversion
iran-contra affair