Iran announced Wednesday that it has placed its first homemade nuclear fuel rods in a reactor, but it may not be able convert them into fuel. The regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often has made claims, such as the development of long-range missiles, that analysts say may be exaggerated if not untrue.
Tehran issued a statement on its official Iranian Student News Agency to announce what it said is a ”giant step” in its nuclear program.
The “research reactor” is located in Tehran.
"We have started enriching uranium to 20 percent to build nuclear fuel rods since western countries are reluctant to provide us with assistance," Iranian Deputy Nuclear Negotiator Ali Bagheri said. His statement to the Russian Ria Novosti news agency, and reported by ISNA, indicates the close ties between Iran and Russia, which has a vested interest in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear development.
"The rods are the first ones produced by Iranian scientists and they will be placed into Tehran research reactor in presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday," he added.
He also reiterated that Fordo nuclear site working under the IAEA supervision has entered into operational phase.
The use of homemade nuclear fuel rods, which Iran last month said were successfully tested, in a move to overcome international sanctions aimed at preventing or slowing down further development in its unsupervised nuclear program.
Iran last year refused to agree to conditions for importing fuel rods from the West, but the use of the homemade nuclear rods does not necessarily mean that scientists will be able to convert the produced uranium into fuel for nuclear reactors.