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Iran's President Urges Iraqis to Reject US Security Pact

By VOA News

23 October 2008

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iraqis should provide their own security and reject the U.S.-Iraqi pact that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq for three years.

Iran's state news agency published his remarks Thursday during a visit to Tehran by the president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani.

Barzani, who supports the pact, is in Iran to seek backing for the measure.

Iran has close ties to the Shi'ite parties who dominate Iraq's government and have opposed the draft agreement, saying it undermines Iraqi sovereignty.

U.S. officials have warned that failure to sign the accord would have significant consequences.

The draft agreement reached last week calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011, unless Baghdad asks them to stay. It also would give Iraq's government limited authority to prosecute American soldiers who commit serious crimes outside U.S. bases while off duty.

A Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, Wednesday accused the Iranian government of seeking to derail the agreement by trying to influence Iraqis through the orchestrating of opposition rallies and apparent attempts to bribe Iraqi politicians.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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