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The first attempt to sell weapons to Iran through Israeli middlemen failed. Reagan then convened a group of advisors, including Secretary of State George Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Both Shultz and Weinberger, as well as White House Chief of Staff Don Regan, objected to selling weapons directly to Iran, which the U.S. had…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1985

This worksheet helps students analyze primary source documents from the Iran-Contra Affair. It is designed for the activity "Decoding U.S. Foreign Policy: The Iran-Contra Affair." For the activity, students will need two copies of the worksheet.

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2010

The events leading to the Reagan administration’s illegal deals to sell weapons to Iran in order to fund the Contras in Nicaragua unfolded over several years. The Contras were a paramilitary group fighting against the fairly elected leftist Sandinista government. The U.S had imposed an embargo against Iran after Islamic fundamentalists had…

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1979

In this activity students analyze a timeline and official and unofficial documents that reveal the events of the Iran-Contra Affair. This activity also models the types of questions that can help students analyze foreign policy documents from other events. The activity instructions include suggestions for how to differentiate the activity for…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2010

The first attempt to sell weapons to Iran through Israeli middlemen failed. Reagan then convened a group of advisors, including Secretary of State George Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Both Shultz and Weinberger, as well as White House Chief of Staff Don Regan, objected to selling weapons directly to Iran, which the U.S. had…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1985

The C.I.A. airdropped thousands of these 15-page illustrated manuals telling "Nicaraguans who love their country and cherish freedom" how they could sabotage the Sandinista-led government. The leftist Sandinistas had overthrown a military dictatorship in 1979; the U.S. supported rightwing Contras in their efforts to remove the Sandinistas from…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1983

Democrats in Congress strongly disagreed with Reagan's support of the rightwing Contras in Nicaragua. To prevent further U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, they passed the Boland Amendments that outlawed federal spending on the conflict. Reagan and high-ranking members of his administration, including the Vice President George H. W. Bush, Secretary…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1985

In a memorandum to Director of Central Intelligence William J. Casey, CIA Deputy Director Robert Gates offers "straight talk" about Nicaragua. In the memo, Gates concedes that the CIA-backed Contras cannot overthrow the Sandinista government. He argues that the Contra war is "an essentially half-hearted policy," recommending instead that the Reagan…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1984