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Iran Inserts Domestically-Made Nuclear Fuel Rods into Reactor

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran has begun inserting high grade nuclear fuel rods it has produced into a reactor in Tehran.

At a ceremony broadcast live on State TV Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad watched as the rods were lowered into the Tehran Research Reactor.

The milestone could spark even higher tensions with the West, which has already placed stiff sanctions against the country in an effort to stop it from making nuclear weapons.  But as one expert explains, Wednesday's development has nothing to do with Iran's nuclear program.

"This is absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapons aspirations.  It's totally for production of medical isotopes for cancer victims," says Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear non proliferation expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

He added, "This development and any development right now in Iran's nuclear program is not something that should cause everyone to think, 'Oh my god, Iran's about ready to have the bomb.'

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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