A former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who accompanied Iraq’s prime minister at a White House meeting Monday also attended a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon the day after.
Hadi Farhan al-Amiri, transportation minister in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, was at the White House on Monday as part of the Iraqi delegation visit to mark the end of the war and discuss the future of U.S. involvement in Iraq with President Obama and other administration officials.
The FBI says the IRGC played a role in a 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996. Al-Amiri’s inclusion in the White House meeting has raised concerns among U.S. law enforcement and intelligence communities, as well as the families of victims of the Khobar Towers’ bombing.
At noon on Tuesday, Al-Amiri attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon sponsored by the U.S. Iraq Business Initiative, a chamber initiative aimed at spurring business development in Iraq. Mr. Maliki, as well as Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides spoke at the luncheon.
One businessman who attended said he was appalled by Mr. al-Amiri’s presence and reported that Iraqi-American citizens who recognized Mr. al-Amiri were noticeably steering clear of him.
A Chamber spokesman declined to comment about the al-Amiri’s attendance.
The White House also has refused to discuss the matter.
When asked during a briefing with reporters Thursday why the White House had allowed Mr. al-Amiri to participate in the meeting and whether U.S. officials had conducted a background check on him beforehand, White House spokesman Jay Carney said only that he was was not previously aware of the controversy and would “check on it.”