Lieberman Demands Criminal Probe of Leaked Classified Iran Document

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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Reuters

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to open a criminal investigation into who leaked a classified foreign ministry document on the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Haaretz earlier Sunday exposed the details of the document, which expresses the ministry's opinion that the chances of reaching a framework agreement between Iran and the world powers by the end of March are very poor.

In his letter to Weinstein, Lieberman said that "despite the sensitivity of the matter and the sensitivity of the timing" the document was distributed to the Israeli delegations around the world without the permission of his office or of the ministry's director general.

Lieberman asked Weinstein "to take the necessary steps, including a polygraph test, to reveal who was behind the information leak." He called the leak "an intended blow to harm the official stance of Israel's decision makers."

Sources in the foreign ministry said that nothing had seemed unusual in the way the document was distributed from ministry's intelligence department to the delegations abroad.

The document represents the foreign ministry's professional stance, they said, adding that distribution of this kind of document within the ministry or government did not usually require approval from the office of the foreign minister or his director general.

The foreign ministry report contradicts statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks that the parties were close to signing an agreement by the end of March.

Netanyahu based his controversial decision to address Congress on March 3 on the fact that his speech is the only way he has left to try to stop the agreement.

The intelligence report is based on an analysis of a speech last week by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

According to a senior official in Jerusalem who is intimately involved in the issue of negotiations between Iran and the world powers: “At the moment the Iranian side is saying no to everything.” The senior official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the political sensitivity of the issue, said: “Our concern is that precisely because of this, there will be some sort of compromise with the powers as part of the desire to reach an agreement.”

The assessment of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem regarding the chances of an interim agreement with Tehran being signed by the end of March, and the analysis of Khamenei’s speech, differ from analyses of officials dealing with negotiations with Iran.

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