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The Reverend Benjamin Weir, a US citizen, is kidnapped by Hezbollah in Beirut. He will be held hostage for over a year (New York Times 11/19/1987) until his release in September 1985, concurrent with covert Israeli arms sales to Iran (see September 15, 1985).
The first arms-for-hostage deal between Iran and the US is completed (see August 6, 1985). On August 30, Israel sold over 500 US-made TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran. Now Iran frees the Reverend Benjamin Weir, an American kidnapped over a year before in Lebanon. White House officials hope for further hostage releases, but none are forthcoming. (Waas and Unger 11/2/1992) Ronald Reagan will telephone Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to thank him for Israel’s help in securing Weir’s freedom. The TOW missiles will be delivered to Iran on September 20, in the cargo hold of a DC-8 transport plane once owned by a Miami-based air transport company; the aircraft took off from Tabriz, Iran, disappeared from radar screens over Turkey, made what was supposed to be a “forced landing” in Israel and later returned to Iran by a circuitous route. (Church 11/17/1986)
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