Iran protests UN nuclear monitoring station as "espionage"
Iran's government charged Dec. 9 that a newly built United Nations station to detect nuclear detonations near its border was established to allow world powers to spy on the country. Construction was completed last week on the seismic monitoring station in neighboring Turkmenistan, a few miles from the Iranian border. It is one of about 275 such facilities operating around the world to detect seismic activity set off by nuclear tests. Abolfazl Zohrehvand, an adviser to Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, said the international treaty that allows for setting up such observatories is an "espionage treaty."
Tehran has been resisting international pressure in recent months to sign on to a UN-backed plan aimed at halting any effort to build nuclear weapons. The United Nations commission that seeks to ban all nuclear tests, the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said the decision to build the station was made more than a decade ago with Iran's involvement. (NYT, Dec. 10; AP, Dec. 9)
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