NPR logo Flashback Friday: On This Day In 1986, Reagan Defends Iran Arms Deal

Flashback Friday: On This Day In 1986, Reagan Defends Iran Arms Deal

Nov. 19, 1986:

Just two years after his landslide re-election victory, President Reagan finds himself on the defensive over his arms-to-Iran decision. hide caption

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In a nationally televised news conference, President Reagan once again defends his dealings with Iran, saying that U.S. arms shipments to Tehran were designed to encourage moderates in that country and not, as many have suggested, to help free hostages who were being held in Lebanon by Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists.

Polls showed that most Americans do not believe Reagan's rationale for what he did, which Senate Democratic leader Robert Byrd said was nothing more than "arms for hostages."  Republicans, looking to protect the president, focused their ire on White House chief of staff Donald Regan and national security adviser John Poindexter.

Flashback Friday is a weekly feature on Political Junkie.

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