BAGHDAD (AFP) - A major Sunni bloc said on Saturday it was boycotting Iraqs March 7 general election because of Iranian interference, in a blow to former PM Iyad Allawi and hopes for reconciliation. The National Dialogue Front led by Saleh al-Mutlak, a leading Sunni MP banned from the election on account of links to the Baath Party of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, confirmed its candidates would not contest the poll. After the remarks of General Ray Odierno and (US ambassador to Baghdad) Christopher Hill that the Justice and Accountability Committee (JAC) was being run by Al-Quds forces (from Iran), the National Dialogue Front cannot continue in a political process run by a foreign agenda, the groups spokesman Haider al-Mullah told reporters in Baghdad. The National Dialogue Front therefore announces its stance is to boycott the forthcoming election and the invitation is open to other political entities to take the same stance. Mutlak whose bloc has nine MPs in the present 275-seat parliament was the main Sunni figure in former Shia premier Allawis broad-based Iraqiya coalition until the JAC barred him from standing for office. The JAC is run by former Shia deputy prime minister Ahmed Chalabi and his close ally Ali Al-Allami, who spent a year in a US-run jail in Iraq, and its job was to vet candidates and exclude those with Baathist links. While in Washington on Tuesday, General Odierno, the top US military officer in Iraq, however, said Chalabi and Allami had ties to the Quds force and clearly are influenced by Iran. We have direct intelligence that tells us that, the commander told an audience at the Institute for the Study of War in the US capital. Odierno said Chalabi and Allami had several meetings in Iran with a close aide to the commander of the Quds, the covert operations arm of Irans powerful Revolutionary Guards. And we believe theyre absolutely involved in influencing the outcome of the election. And its concerning that theyve been able to do that over time, Odierno said, apparently referring to the Tehran govt. The dispute over who can stand in the March 7 election has raised sectarian tensions and alarmed Washington, which views the polls as a crucial precursor to a complete military withdrawal by the end of 2011. Mutlaks decision is a u-turn on what he said Monday, when he told tribal chiefs in Baghdad that Sunnis had tasted the bitterness of a boycott in the 2005 parliamentary ballot and it was not the solution this time round. Allawis Iraqiya list, however, appears to remain the favoured choice among voters in the Sunni Arab strongholds of Anbar, Nineveh and Salaheddin, analysts have told AFP. Voters on Saturday appeared unmoved by Mutlaks boycott and indicated it would not stop them voting for Allawi. I will vote for Iraqiya whether Mutlaks list participates or not, said Haider Ali Mahmud, a 41-year-old mechanic in Samarra, in Salaheddin.