Iran inserts nuclear fuel rod in research reactor

Associated Press
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Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano from Japan speaks to the media after returning from Iran at the Vienna International Airport near Schwechat, Austria, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. Amano says he has reached a deal with Iran on probing suspected work on nuclear weapons and adds that the agreement will "be signed quite soon." (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official news agency says Iranian scientists have inserted a domestically made fuel rod into the core of a research nuclear reactor in Tehran.

Tuesday's report comes a day before Iran and six world powers meet in Baghdad for negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program. The West says Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

IRNA reported that the fuel rod, which contains pellets of 20 percent enriched uranium, was inserted into the core after preliminary tests. The advance would be another step in achieving proficiency in the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

Iran said in January that it had produced the first nuclear fuel rod, saying it had to find a way to make them because Western sanctions prohibit their purchase from foreign markets.