On this day November 3, 1986

The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reports that the United States has been selling weapons to Iran in secret in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

In 1983, members of Al-Dawa, an exiled Iraqi political party turned militant organization, were imprisoned for their part in a series of truck bombs in Kuwait. In response to the imprisonment, Hezbollah, an ally of Al-Dawa, took 30 Western hostages between 1982 and 1992, many of whom were American.

Following the Israeli-U.S. meeting, Israel requested permission from the U.S. to sell a small number of TOW antitank missiles (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) to the moderate Iranians, saying that it would demonstrate that the group actually had high-level connections to the U.S. government.

Reagan initially rejected the plan, until Israel sent information to the U.S. showing that the moderate Iranians were opposed to terrorism and had fought against it. Now having a reason to trust the moderates, Reagan approved the transaction, which was meant to be between Israel and the moderates in Iran, with the U.S. reimbursing Israel.

In his 1990 autobiography An American Life, Reagan states that he was deeply committed to securing the release of the hostages; it was this compassion that motivated his support for the arms initiatives. The president requested that the moderate Iranians do everything in their capability to free the hostages held by Hezbollah.


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