Petraeus, the Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq since February 2007, spoke about the stance of Iraqi officials on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit. He explained, "They say 'We welcome the Iranian pilgrims. We welcome Iranian money. We welcome Iranian goods and services and produce. But we don't welcome the improvised explosive devices, the trained militia extremists and the 240mm rockets.' "
Further commenting on Iraq-Iran relations, Petraeus said, "Iran should be trying to achieve a good relationship with a country that's always going to be its neighbor to the west. This border is not going to go away any time soon." He continued, "There is a shared history, and much of that history is not pleasant."
When asked about the troop surge in Iraq, Petraeus asserted, "We can certainly say that the security aspect of the surge has achieved considerable progress. I wouldn't ever use the word success or victory or anything like that." He concluded, "Progress is difficult to achieve and it is difficult to sustain and build."
International correspondent Katayoun Beglari-Scarlet has been on special assignment in Iraq this week as part of PNN's ongoing coverage from inside the country. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on our website, www.VOAPNN.com.
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