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On eve of talks, Iran announces delivery of nuclear fuel to Tehran reactor

News contradicts earlier statements that regime would ship its enriched uranium abroad for fuel production

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (second from left) being escorted by technicians during a tour of Tehran's research reactor center in February. (photo credit: AP/Iranian President's Office)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (second from left) being escorted by technicians during a tour of Tehran's research reactor center in February. (photo credit: AP/Iranian President's Office)

Iran announced Tuesday that it had delivered its first two batches of domestically produced nuclear fuel to a Tehran research reactor.

The move comes on the eve of talks between Tehran and six Western powers over the future of the country’s nuclear program.

The move is widely seen as an attempt by Iran to boost its bargaining position by exaggerating its nuclear technology.

Tehran had tentatively agreed to ship its enriched uranium abroad in order to produce such fuel in 2009.

By moving the fuel rods to its own reactors, Iran will effectively put the kibosh on a deal by which it would send the fuel abroad.

The advance would be another step in achieving proficiency in the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Iran said in January that it had produced its first nuclear fuel rods, and that it had to find a way to make them because Western sanctions prohibit their purchase from foreign markets.

The news came a few hours after International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano announced he had reached a deal with Iran on nuclear inspections.

Iran insists the purpose of its nuclear program is civilian — something world leaders doubt. The IAEA, prohibited from visiting nuclear sites, has not been able to verify what the Iranian leaders’ intentions are.

Israel has long insisted that Iran is pursuing an atomic bomb and that it is merely buying time by engaging in nuclear talks.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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