Iran flaunted a new generation of centrifuges and mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clad in a white lab coat, was on hand to load domestically made fuel rods into the core of a Tehran reactor.
Also announced was an intent to start production of yellowcake, a chemically treated form of uranium ore used for making enriched uranium.
United Nations sanctions ban Iran from importing yellowcake. Domestic production would further Iran's nuclear self-sufficiency.
In a speech outlining the latest developments, Ahmadinejad said Iran was willing to share its nuclear knowledge with other nations that subscribe to the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
State-run Press TV broadcast live images of the Tehran event, hailed by the Iranians as a major scientific advancement for the Islamic republic.
The first Iranian nuclear fuel rods, produced by Iranian scientists at the Natanz facility in central Iran, are to be used at the Tehran Nuclear Research Center, which Iran says is used primarily for medical purposes.
The Tehran facility creates radio isotopes used for cancer treatment, Press TV reported, adding that 850,000 cancer patients were in dire need.
Ahmadinejad had announced in a speech marking the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution last week that Iran would be unveiling something big.
Wednesday, he lashed out again at Western powers who, he said, attempt to monopolize nuclear technology and prevent other nations from acquiring a key energy source.
Ahmadinejad, surrounded by photos of assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists, said Iran has shown the West up.
Tehran's latest activities have spiked tensions with Western powers, which believe Iran's atomic ambitions are focused on building a bomb.
"I am not so worried about the fuel issue but I am worried about the advanced centrifuges," said Arne Gundersen, chief energy adviser with the nuclear consulting
Resumen: Iran flaunted a new generation of centrifuges and mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clad in a white lab coat, was on hand to load domestically made fuel rods into the core of a Tehran reactor.