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Iran loads own fuel rods into research reactor
Defiant Iran loads domestic fuel rods into Tehran research reactor
By The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ' Iran says it has begun loading domestically made nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran research reactor, a defiant move in response to toughening Western sanctions.

The official IRNA news agency said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inserted the first Iranian-made nuclear fuel rod into the reactor in north Tehran.

State TV broadcast Wednesday's ceremony live, showing nuclear experts briefing Ahmadinejad on the process.



The development came as Iran said it has cut oil exports to six European countries ' the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal ' in response to European Union sanctions.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ' Iranian state TV says Tehran has cut oil exports to six European countries in response to European Union sanctions, which include a boycott of new oil contracts with Iran.

No details were immediately made available on the Press TV report Wednesday, including which six nations were affected by the decision.

The move comes days after Iran's oil minister, Rostam Qassemi, said Tehran could cut off oil exports to "hostile" European nations as tensions rise over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Iran argues that the EU oil embargo will not cripple its economy, claiming that the country already has identified new customers. European sales account for about 18 percent of Iran's total crude exports.


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