Turkmen Leader Approves Building Station Near Iran to Monitor Nuke Testing

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov gave approval for the construction of a seismological station near the ex-Soviet republic's border with Iran, designed to monitor underground nuclear tests, official media said Monday.

Niyazov signed an order authorizing the station's construction in line with the country's commitments under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty, which it joined in 1998, said the newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan.

It said the station would be part of an international network monitoring nuclear tests. It did not specify who would build the station and when.

CountryWatch: Turkmenistan

The gas-rich desert Central Asian nation lies north of Iran, with which it has established close economic ties. The global nuclear test ban treaty outlaws test explosions of nuclear weapons. However the 1996 accord still has not taken effect because not enough countries have both signed and ratified it.