Iran said Wednesday that it has made two major steps toward mastering the production of nuclear fuel. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad oversaw the insertion of the first Iranian domestically-produced fuel rod into a research reactor in northern Tehran, the country's official IRNA news agency reported. It added that the nuclear fuel announcement is the final step in the entire cycle of nuclear fuel — from extracting uranium ore to producing the finished rods.
Separately, the Fars news agency reported that a "new generation of Iranian centrifuges" had been installed and had gone into operation at the country's main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in central Iran.
Ahmadinejad said Iran has added 3,000 new generation centrifuges to its uranium enrichment program. Describing the installation of new generation centrifuges at Natanz nuclear facility as Tehran’s “third achievement,” Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that Iran currently has 9,000 active centrifuges.
According to the Iranian leader, his country is ready to share its nuclear know-how with all member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He also announced that the country would provide “full protection” for its nuclear scientists.
Iran's nuclear declarations came amid conflicting reports about oil exports halt to six European countries — the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal — in response to recent new European Union sanctions. The Iranian oil ministry dismissed the reports published earlier by the state television channel.