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The Iran Deception : REAGAN'S GREATEST CRISIS : The Unfolding of the Iran Deception : A Chronology

December 28, 1986

After six years of magic, President Reagan broke the spell. By deceiving the nation, he and those around him badly damaged his presidency. This traumatic tale is still unfolding, with no end in sight. This is how it developed.

Nov. 4, 1979 Militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran and hold 52 Americans hostage for the next 14 months, triggering a U.S. embargo on the shipment of arms and spare parts to the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Dec. 25-26, 1979: The Soviet Union airlifts troops to Afghanistan. September 1980 Iran-Iraq war begins. After the United States rejects an Iranian request two months later to buy spare parts for its U.S.-made F-14 warplanes, Iran goes into the international black market in an extensive and expensive effort to obtain parts to maintain its military arsenal. Jan. 20, 1981 American hostages in Iran are released. Jan. 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan inaugurated. August, 1981 Lt. Col. Oliver North joins the staff of the National Security Council. Early March, 1982 Reports surface that the Reagan Administration, charging Nicaragua has become a "Soviet bastion," has begun efforts to support contras. June 6, 1982: Israel invades Lebanon. December 1982 Congress adopts restrictions on aid to the Nicaraguan contras. October 17, 1983

President Reagan names Robert C. McFarlane as National Security Advisor, North's boss. October 23, 1983 In Beirut, 241 U.S. Marines are killed in a truck-bomb attack by a suicidal driver linked to a pro-Iranian Lebanese Shia group. November 1983 Reagan wins congressional approval of his request for $24 million in aid for the Contras. Early 1984 North reportedly develops a plan to use private Americans and third countries to funnel aid to the Contras in the face of mounting congressional opposition to U.S. military aid. March 7, 1984 Jeremy Levin, Beirut bureau chief for the U.S. Cable News Network, is kidnaped on a West Beirut street. March 16, 1984 William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, is kidnaped. April 1984 The disclosure that the CIA provided logistics and supervision for the mining of Nicaraguan harbors creates an uproar in Congress, where Reagan is seeking additional aid for the contras. May 8, 1984 American Presbyterian pastor Benjamin T. Weir is kidnaped on a West Beirut street. October 1984 Congress passes the so-called Boland Amendment, banning military aid to the contras. North turns to non-government intermediaries to handle many of the tasks for the contra supply operation. Nov. 6, 1984: President Reagan wins reelection. Dec. 3, 1984 Peter Kilburn, American University librarian in Beirut, fails to report to work, and the extremist group Islamic Jihad says he has been kidnaped.

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