Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

By Saturday, Dec. 6, the national uproar over the Iran-contra affair was at a peak. In his weekly radio address that afternoon, Ronald Reagan made yet another attempt to quell the roiling scandal, assuring listeners that "it was not my intent to do business with Khomeini, to trade weapons for hostages." The secret efforts to forge ties with "moderates" in Iran had been "broken off," the President stated.

But a week later CIA and State Department representatives met with Iranian contacts in Geneva. The Iranians presented the Americans with a nine-point agenda that they claimed had already been approved by the...

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