By Molly K. Hooper - 06/14/11 04:30 PM EDT
Six House lawmakers were asked to leave Iraq last week by that country’s prime minister, according to Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas).
Gohmert, who was on the trip with three other Republicans and two Democrats, told The Hill that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki ordered the group out of Iraq after it asked for access to Camp Ashraf, which houses 3,000 Iranian dissidents.
Thirty-five Iranians were killed at the camp last month in clashes with Iraqi security forces. Maliki denied the request to visit the camp, citing Iraq’s sovereignty.
He noted that the group of six was already “leaving Iraq when we got word we were asked to leave Iraq.”
The delegation was led by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). In a statement, he said the group was “not officially” told to leave.
“There was no change in our scheduling while we were in Iraq. Our itinerary remained exactly the same and we departed as scheduled. We were not officially told to leave the country before we left and were never told or warned not to come back,” Rohrabacher said.
Other lawmakers in the delegation were Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) and Jim Costa (D-Calfi.).
The group met with Maliki on Friday morning and had a “frank and candid” discussion, Gohmert said. During the talk, Rohrabacher, Gohmert and Poe pressed Maliki for access to Camp Ashraf, where 35 people were allegedly killed in April by Iraqui soldiers.
“(Maliki) did not appreciate us bringing up Camp Ashraf,” Gohmert said. Malike denied the delegation access to the camp, citing “Iraq’s national sovereignty,” Gohmert said.
Rohrabacher also discussed the possibility that Iraq repay the U.S. for the cost of the Iraq war.
Following that meeting with Maliki, Gohmert said that the members held a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad before heading north to the city of Irbil in Kurdish territory.
“It’s always nice to deal with a country that appreciates what you’ve done." Gohmert said. "It may have been that Maliki had heard some of our comments at the press conference we had at the American embassy after the meeting with him."
In his statement, Rohrabacher said he would be holding a hearing into the events at Camp Ashraf.