By Mark Pyruz
According to AFP:
Iraqi political blocs have held talks with Iran over a standoff sparked by a warrant for the arrest of the country's Sunni Arab vice president that has stoked sectarian tensions, officials said Tuesday.
Charges that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi ran a death squad have plunged Iraq into political crisis, and representatives of several parties have spoken to top officials in Tehran, according to senior political sources in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region, where Hashemi is holed up.
"Iraqi parties are contacting Iran to mediate over the Hashemi issue," an official close to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, three political sources belonging to parties including the ruling Kurdistania alliance said a senior Iranian delegation met with Kurdish regional President Massud Barzani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, in recent days to discuss the Hashemi arrest warrant.
The delegation, which includes officials from the Iranian intelligence service and army, was headed by Sardar Majidi, the deputy chief of the Quds Force of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, according to the sources, who did not want to be named.
They said the delegation pushed for a meeting of senior political leaders, but Maliki refused to attend any meeting held in Arbil, and Barzani declined to join talks in Baghdad.
Two independent Kurdish newspapers, Awene and Baas, have also reported that a top Iranian delegation visited Iraq and made the request.
It appears IRGC Quds Force is ever more a pivotal player in Iraqi affairs, involving the near full range of Iraq's political spectrum. This is all the more amazing as the United States government considers IRGC-QF to be a "terrorist organization."
It might even be claimed that Iran -- not the United States -- is and will be the vital influence that effects and maintains Iraqi political stability in the crucial months to come. Iran has long maintained that regional security is best achieved through intra-regional participation, free of external influence. Iraq represents the most visible model for Iran's policy to take effect.