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Ex-Iran Guard commander visits White House with Iraq leader


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Washington Times:

A former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the FBI says played a role in a 1996 terrorist attack that killed 19 U.S. servicemen, accompanied Iraq’s prime minister to the White House on Monday, attending an event at which President Obama trumpeted the end of the Iraq War.

Hadi Farhan al-Amiri, transportation minister in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, was part of the delegation that visited the White House to discuss Iraq’s future and Iran’s influence there, among other topics.

At a joint White House news conference with Mr. al-Maliki, Mr. Obama proclaimed that the U.S. is committed to being a major player in the region and that Iraq’s neighbors should take heed. He did not mention Iran by name.

Critics have accused Mr. al-Maliki, a Shiite, of acting at the behest of the Shiite government in Iran. But Mr. Obama told reporters that he believes the Iraqi prime minister when he says that “his interest is maintaining Iraqi sovereignty and preventing meddling by anybody inside of Iraq.”

“And he has shown himself to be willing to make very tough decisions in the interests of Iraqi nationalism, even if they cause problems with his neighbor,” the president said in a thinly veiled reference to Iran.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to confirm whether Mr. al-Amiri was part of the Iraqi delegation. He referred questions to the Iraqi government.

Mr. al-Maliki’s office listed Mr. al-Amiri as a member of the delegation. A spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy was unavailable to elaborate on Mr. al-Amiri’s role in the White House visit.

Louis J. Freeh, who served as FBI director in the Clinton administration and the early months of the George W. Bush administration, said it was shocking that Mr. al-Maliki would include Mr. al-Amiri in his visit to Washington.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has been involved in “countless acts of terrorism, which are acts of war against the United States,” Mr. Freeh said in an interview.snip
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