Iranian dissidents protest in D.C.

(Photo: Scott Thuman)

If the goal was to get the president's attention, a group of mostly Iranian-Americans who put on a performance outside the White House must have at least raised eyebrows.

Hundreds protested the closure of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where thousands of Iranian dissidents are living. If the camp is closed, the refugees will be unprotected or forced to go back to Iran.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with President Obama at the White House and with U.S. troops leaving Iraq at the end of the month.

See photos of the protests.

With a clock ticking quickly, protesters got a unique show of support from some lofty allies. Among them, a former Homeland Security secretary, FBI director and governor.

"I've been privileged to work in government in many different capacities, from a soldier in Vietnam to cabinet secretary,” says Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Secretary. “I never thought, as a private citizen, I'd be rallying with my friends to implore my president to do the right thing."