TEHRAN (AFP) - The draft US-Iraq security accord is aimed at keeping Iraq weak to help America "pillage" the country, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday. "The Americans have shown that they do not respect any agreement and, if their interests require it, they are ready to sacrifice their closest friends," he was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying. "They do not distinguish among Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. They want to prevent the creation of a strong and powerful Iraq, the better to pillage the country," Ahmadinejad said. He was speaking during a visit by Massud Barzani, leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Barzani has defended the agreement, saying it is better than the status quo. Other Iranian leaders joined Ahmadinejad in denouncing the proposed pact on Thursday, including Ali Larijani, speaker of parliament, and Interior Minister Ali Kordan. "The Americans' aim was to make sure the Iraqi government is second rate. This is why Iraqi public figures do not defend the agreement and have expressed reservations," Larijani said in comments reported by Mehr news agency. He criticised a clause in the deal, which shields American military personnel from Iraqi justice if they commit crimes on their bases or while on a mission. "It is a capitulation," he said, comparing the pact with an agreement signed by the United States and the former Iranian imperial regime, which was ferociously denounced by the Shah's opponents. Kordan, speaking in Amman at a meeting of interior ministers of war-ravaged Iraq's neighbours, said Tehran opposes any document that threatens Iraqi interests. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday rejected Iran's warnings that a draft security pact will hurt Iraq, saying the Iraqis can "defend their interests without the Iranians." "I think the Iraqis can defend their interests without the Iranians, thank you very much," Rice told a press conference in Mexico when asked to comment on the remarks. "That hasn't been the happiest relationship, ever," Rice said during a visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. "What the Iranians were doing was arming special groups in the south who were killing innocent Iraqis. So frankly I don't take these comments very seriously," said Rice, alongside Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. Rice then reiterated that "this is a good agreement," referring to the security pact that has been the subject of months of difficult negotiations with the Iraqis. Rice said she had no update on the status of the agreement from US negotiators in Iraq, because she has been busy with her talks with Espinosa, which have focused on drug-related crime as well as economic and trade issues.The Iranians "have made their displeasure with this agreement known, and have tried to influence Iraqis in all " in all manner of ways." General Ray Odierno "talked about intelligence pointing to attempted bribes," Morrell said, referring to recent remarks by the commanding US general in Iraq that Iraqi leaders criticized as "inappropriate."