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Iran Cuts Oil Exports To Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal

Iran has announced it is cutting oil exports to six European countries ahead of sanctions imposed by the EU.

State TV said exports to Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal would be cut, but did not elaborate on to what extent oil would be allowed to be traded, if at all.

Around 18% of Iran's oil exports currently go to the EU. Less than 1% of its oil exports go to the UK.

Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world. It's 137bn barrels of proven oil reserves are more than Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Iran is preparing to load its own nuclear fuel roads into a research reactor for the first time, at a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The enriched uranium fuel will be placed into the Tehran Research Reactor on Wednesday.

"We began enriching uranium to 20% in order to make fuel rods because Western countries are not ready to help us," said deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Counci Ali Baqeri, according to a student news agency and Reuters.

"For the first time, fuel rods produced by Iranian scientists will be installed in the presence of the Islamic Republic's president in Tehran's research reactor."

Iran says it has made the 20% enriched uranium because it wanted to make isotopes to treat cancer.

The research reactor is believed to be used for medical purposes and agricultural products. It previously ran on Argentinian fuel rods but it did not reach deal to extend the trade deal.

But in a report last year the International Atomic Energy Agency, which reports to the United Nations, said that Iran was fixated on producing a nuclear bomb and was closer than ever to succeeding.

Iran has refused to suspend its nuclear research, heightening tensions in the region.

On Tuesday the USS Abraham Lincoln sailed through the Strait of Hormuz in what it said was a routine mission, shadowed at all times by Iranian patrol boats.

The United States and the EU have both imposed sanctions on the Iranian government. The EU has banned oil imports from the country and lobbied other nations and trading blocs to follow suit.

Iran said on Wednesday that it was open to holding talks without preconditions with the EU, but did not give further details.

Meanwhile Sky News said that its sources indicated the Iranian government had formed an "operational arrangement" with the Al Qaida terrorist network.

Two Iranian men were charged in connection with terrorist attacks in Bangkok on Tuesday.

One of the suspects blew his own legs off when a grenade he threw at police bounced off a tree.

Speaking on Wednesday the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, blamed Iran for the blasts as well as another in India that targeted an Israeli diplomatic car.

"At this time, Iran's terrorist activities have been exposed to everyone," Netanyahu said.

Above: CCTV images released of the Bangkok bombing suspects.