Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant, state television has reported.
It marks a key stage in the firing-up of the Bushehr plant, which is set to produce electricity from 2011.
Russia will operate the facility in southern Iran, supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away the nuclear waste.
Iran’s separate uranium enrichment programme has alarmed Western nations, who distrust Iran’s claims it is solely for peaceful purposes.
Iran has been subject to four rounds of UN sanctions because of its nuclear programme.
Full story: Iran loads fuel into the Bushehr nuclear reactor