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History of Iran-contra Episode in the mid 1980’s Essay


Iran-contra episode was a political scandal between United State and Iran in the mid 1980’s. In the scandal, weapons were sold by the U.S government to Iran where the U.S hostages who had been held in Lebanon were released. On U.S policy by then, it was not allowed to make any funding in relation to support of Contras on the Boland Amendment.

Contra groups were repels of which North, who was a Marine Corps during the scandal, held partial accountability in the deal of the weapons sale to Iran which occurred through the intermediaries. The scandal represented an aberration in American foreign country.

To start with, it is a representation of a policy inconsistency in America policy as there was an amendment made against such transactions where the Reagan administration discarded its official weapons to Iranians.

The U.S policy held the focus on restraining communism expansion but the Reagan doctrine basing on Iran-contra episode was determined in providing assistance to them that had aligned themselves against the government through Soviet Union. In 1985, there was the authorization bill which supported the anti-communist deter groups receiving full public acknowledgement.

Iran had been declared as the leading sponsor in matters related to the international terrorism. This was the reason behind the laid restrictions on sale of any weapons to Iran. The U.S officials laid the underpinning plan for dramatic policy shift in their favor towards Iran. Fighting terrorism was however recognized during the reign of Reagan as the utmost foreign policy main concern (Byrne and Kornbluh).

Iran-contra episode was considered to be a leadership problem instead of foreign policy’s problems in America on its objectives. In this view, foreign policy appraisal during the reign of Reagan is then important. Putting onto the considerations of the Reagan doctrine, American military had been underscored in power during the Vietnam experience.

Iran-contra episode was carried in the secrecy which involved the foreign policy procedures. The operations involved carried two main objectives which included the hostage release and support of contra repels. Upon the discovery of the operations there was legal and upheaval to the Reagan administration. This proceeded Iran-contra committee which was meant to uncover them that held full accountability of the episode so as to avoid any other illegal activities which could be related with the foreign policy in future.

The Iran-contra episode brought about full illustration of how the Reagan administration fully embraced his doctrine. The episode also brought about jointly two vexing and troublesome foreign policies. One of the policies dealt with Sandinista regime which was in Nicaragua, in the view of affirmed Marxist with the soul intention of spreading rebellion in terms of revolution all through in Central America.

The second problem was associated with the Reagan administration dealing with Ayatollah Khomeini who led the Iranian regime and along with scholars supporters, had detained 63 Americans an act which happened in November 1979. In mid 1985, Reagan opted for the reversal on longstanding foreign policy to the sale of weapons to Iran in an attempt of freeing the U.S detainees (McCormick 144).

The episode affected both bureaucratic and content characteristics of U.S foreign policy. There was a damage of both transparency and integrity of the government’s policy and this posed the challenge on how Reagan set of guidelines were being approved.

It is conversely viewed as a means of privatization of what is supposed to be a public foreign policy with transparency to just few individual groups’ consideration, such as the American Security Council as well as the privatization on constitutional grounds (Holsti 115). It is therefore a dictatorship path where the executive directs all powers without questioning.

It cannot be overlooked the fact that Reagan administration had largely made some successful efforts in Soviet Union restoration and becoming a central of focus to the U.S on its foreign policy. This however did not take long as during the second reigning of Reagan as there was more on accommodation than the confrontations on the enforcement of the foreign policy in America.

There were staunch in reverence to the anti-communist policy but the results were mixed after the Iran-contra episode. The values contained in the foreign policies were challenged as well as the directions of these policies in America.

In conclusion, there were no changes which were made in the legislation so as to protect any other future breakdown which would happen in legality in reverence to foreign policy dealings. Even after the investigations were done, Reagan was only charged with the failure of carrying constitutional duty which demanded the upholding of regulations.

The investigations which were carried were however viewed as a way of interfering with Reagan’s foreign policy. It can even be viewed as a deep commitment which the major purpose was to seek for the freedom of hostages. The Iran-contra episode is however viewed as a political witch-hunt through the investigations so as to punish officials over the variance on foreign policy in America.

Iran-contra episode however, was an exposure to the zealous disregard which was carried by the executive branch to represent legislative constraints on American overseas policy.

Work Cited

Byrne, Malcolm and Peter Kornbluh. The Iran-Contra Scandal in Perspective. 2010. Web.

Holsti, Ole R. Public opinion and American foreign policy. New York: University of Michigan Press, 2004.

McCormick, James M. American Foreign Policy and Process. New York: Cengage Learning, 2009.

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"History of Iran-contra Episode in the mid 1980’s." IvyPanda, 12 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/iran-contra-episode/.

1. IvyPanda. "History of Iran-contra Episode in the mid 1980’s." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/iran-contra-episode/.


IvyPanda. "History of Iran-contra Episode in the mid 1980’s." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/iran-contra-episode/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "History of Iran-contra Episode in the mid 1980’s." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/iran-contra-episode/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'History of Iran-contra Episode in the mid 1980’s'. 12 August.

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