Ahmadinejad Urges Iraq to Block U.S. Influence

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged Iraqis to provide their own security rather than rely on U.S. troops.

The comments are part of continued Iranian criticism of a security pact being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad that could keep American troops in Iraq for three more years.

Ahmadinejad says Iraqis "are able to provide security in Iraq and block the influence of foreigners."

The remarks appeared Thursday on the president's official Web site. Ahmadinejad spoke during a meeting with Massoud Barzani — the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq — who was in Tehran seeking backing for the pact.

Iran sees the pact as a threat to its interests.