BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's national security council has asked Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to ensure that a pact under discussion to extend the US troop presence beyond 2008 will not harm the national interest. Washington and Baghdad are holding negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement aimed at giving a legal basis to the US troops after December 31, when a UN mandate defining the current status of foreign forces expires. "The Political Council for National Security recommended continuing negotiations between the two sides to reach a result that is satisfactory to the people of Iraq and does not harm its interests," a government statement said. The council, headed by President Jalal Talabani, said the negotiations covered a wide spectrum of subjects including security, economic, political and military issues, but did not give details of progress so far. The proposed pact has come under fire from religious and political leaders both in Iraq and in neighbouring Iran. "This agreement is against Islam," said Salah al-Obeidi, spokesman for the powerful Iraqi anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "There is no religious basis for an agreement like this." A suicide bomber killed at least six people and wounded 46 on Tuesday when he blew up his vehicle at the Al-Kalah checkpoint in the town of Tal Afar in Nineveh province, the Interior Ministry said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki reopened a bridge over the Tigris river in Baghdad that was destroyed in a deadly suicide truck bomb attack a year ago. "We are not here to celebrate just the bridge opening, but also to celebrate the victory of goodwill, reconstruction and nation-building," the Prime Minister said at the site of the rebuilt 450-metre (yard) bridge.