To What Extent Did the Activities in Iran Prove Detrimental To Foreign Policy in the Reagan Administration?

To What Extent Did the Activities in Iran Prove Detrimental To Foreign Policy in the Reagan Administration?

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A. Plan of Investigation
This investigation assesses the Reagan Administration and its inconsistent foreign policy in regards to Iran. The Iran-Contra Affair was a controversial crisis for the fortieth president. It involved two parts: the selling of weapons to Iran and then the siphoning of that money to Nicaragua. However, in this investigation, the situation with Iran will be more prominently discussed, rather than the Nicaraguan situation. The foreign policy pertaining to the Middle East will be analyzed for its confusion and complexity. The two sources used in this essay, The Long Road to Baghdad: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy from the 1970s to the Present by Lloyd C. Gardner and The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan and edited by Douglas Brinkley will be evaluated for their origin, value, purpose, and limitations.
B. Summary of Evidence

Beginning with the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, in the midst of Jimmy Carter’s second term, our relationship with Iran has been anything but healthy. Iran, at the time of the crisis, was under the radical influence of Ayatollah Khomeini. He had overrun and exiled the previous Shah who the United States had better relations with. After learning of the Shah’s fight with cancer, influential Americans convinced President Carter to permit the Shah to travel to the country to receive prominent medical care. This did not go over well in Iran and Khomeini then called for the students working at the U.S. embassy in Tehran to act on behalf of the country in response. On November 4, these “Iranian extremists” captured fifty-two American hostages.1 Carter attempted negotiations ranging from diplomacy to helicopter invasions, but nothing was accomplished. The relationship between the two countries...


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...nesh. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. New York: Touchstone. 1997.

Gardner, Lloyd C. The Long Road to Baghdad: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy from the 1970s to the Present. New York: The New Press. 2008.

Lapham, Lewis H. “Learning to Live Without a Soviet Threat,” Harper’s Magazine. (1987).

Ray, Locker. “For U.S. Presidents, a Familiar Problem,” USA Today. (July 1, 2009).

Reagan, Ronald. Ed. Douglas Brinkley. The Reagan Diaries. New York: HarperCollins Publisher. 2007.

Rich, Alex K. “Tehran,” Our World: Iran. (2010).

Taylor, Michael. “Iran-Contra Scandal Tarnished Credibility/ But Americans Forgave President After He Admitted Judgment Errors,” San Francisco Chronicle. (June 6, 2004).

Walsh, Kenneth T. “Damage Control: Reagan’s Iran Contra Strategy Offers Lessons,” U.S. News & World Report .(2005).

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