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      Lieberman: Iran's Goal Remains the Same

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman meets Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, expresses skepticism over agreement with Iran.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 5/23/2012, 5:12 AM

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
      Flash 90

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met on Tuesday in London with Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

      During the meeting the two ministers discussed bilateral issues, the continued strengthening of bilateral cooperation between Britain and Israel, the situation in the Middle East and the negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program.

      The meeting came several hours after it was reported that Iran will sign an agreement to cooperate with the United Nations’ IAEA nuclear watchdog agency.

      Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Vienna Tuesday after a one-day visit to Tehran and announced that “a decision was made to conclude and sign the agreement. I can say it will be signed quite soon."

      Lieberman expressed skepticism over the agreement, telling Hague at the meeting that the Iranians are trying to create a more pleasant and relaxed atmosphere during negotiations but that their goal remains the same - to obtain nuclear weapons.

      “While sanctions on Iran have an impact, it is not enough of an impact to bring a real change in the situation,” Lieberman said. “We should also pay attention to the negative Iranian involvement in every possible place in the Middle East.”

      Earlier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak also expressed doubt over the value of an agreement between the IAEA and Iran.

      “It appears that the Iranians are trying to reach a ‘technical agreement’ which will create the impression of progress in the talks, in order to remove some of the pressure before the [P5+1] talks tomorrow in Baghdad; as well as to put off the intensification of sanctions,” Barak said.

      During his meeting with Hague, Lieberman also addressed the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, saying that even if Israel agrees to divide Jerusalem and return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders, as the PA has continuously demanded, the results will be the same as the result of the 2005 disengagement from Gaza: Missiles and terrorism in Israel.

      “It is the Palestinians who are refusing to negotiate a just and lasting settlement,” said Lieberman. “There is no partner for negotiations on the Palestinian side led by Mahmoud Abbas.”