Published: Feb 15, 2012 1:40 PM EST

 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran says it has begun loading domestically made nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran research reactor, a defiant move in response to toughening Western sanctions.
 
The official IRNA news agency said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inserted the first Iranian-made nuclear fuel rod into the reactor in north Tehran.
 
State TV broadcast Wednesday's ceremony live, showing nuclear experts briefing Ahmadinejad on the process.
 
The development came as Iran said it has cut oil exports to six European countries - the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal - in response to European Union sanctions.