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After Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980, Iran desperately needed weapons and spare parts for its current weapons.
After Ronald Reagan took office as President on 20 January 1981, he vowed to continue Carter's policy of blocking arms sales to Iran on the grounds that Iran supported terrorism.
To maintain this arsenal, Iran required a steady supply of spare parts to replace those broken and worn out.
After Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage, US President Jimmy Carter imposed an arms embargo on Iran.
At the same time that the American government was considering their options on selling arms to Iran, Contra militants based in Honduras were waging a guerrilla war to topple the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) revolutionary government of Nicaragua. Funding ran out for the Contras by July 1984 and in October a total ban was placed in effect.By contrast congressional leaders argued that the constitution had assigned Congress control of the budget, and Congress had every right to use that power not to fund projects like attempting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua that they disapproved of.