Americans love a good conspiracy theory, and plenty have been bandied about this election season. But what about conspiracy theories that turned out to be, well, not theoretical at all?
In 1979, revolutionary forces in Iran overthrew the US-backed Shah and a new country was born: The Islamic Republic of Iran. That same year, Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and captured 52 Americans, holding them hostage. The Iranian hostage crisis was a huge factor in President Jimmy Carter’s defeat in 1980 by Ronald Reagan, who ran on a tough national security platform and promised to bring the hostages home upon his election. Despite his strong public opposition to the new Iranian regime, Reagan’s administration soon began selling large quantities of arms to Iran. Their reasoning: Iraq had just invaded Iran, and Reagan’s strident anti-Soviet policies led to fears that an Iran unable to fight back would fall into Soviet hands. Around the same time, the Reagan administration’s fierce opposition to Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista led them to arm the right-wing Contra guerrilla group and support its quest to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Publically, the US actively chastised other nations for selling arms to Iran, and Congress passed legislation making it illegal for the government to arm the Contras. When the crash of a CIA plane in Nicaragua and a leak by an Iranian official revealed the Reagan administration had indeed conspired to arm Iran and the Contras – and even sold arms to Iran in exchange for the freedom of those 52 American hostages – the President himself was forced to admit the truth.
Tom Cruise is back as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, taking on a conspiracy of epic proportions in a fight for the truth. Don’t miss the action in theaters and IMAX, opening October 21.
This content was produced on behalf of Jack Reacher by The Daily Beast brand strategy team and not by The Daily Beast editorial staff.