Despite Fuel Rods, Iran Is No Closer to Bomb Announcement likely a posturing technique By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jan 4, 2012 1:11 PM CST 15 comments Comments Iranian navy fires a Mehrab missile during the 'Velayat-90' naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on January 1, 2012. (Getty Images) (Newser) – If you were freaking out about Iran’s recent announcement that it had developed nuclear fuel rods, relax: Tehran probably isn’t any closer to a nuclear weapon than it was before, experts tell Reuters. While spent plutonium fuel rods can be used to make bombs, the West’s concern is really concentrated around Iran’s enriched uranium, which can do the same thing. “The development itself doesn’t put them any closer to producing weapons,” says a member of one arms control group. Experts suspect the announcement was probably mostly a bid to enhance its bargaining position in talks with the West. After all, “they announced the fuel rod production and called for talks at the same time,” the arms control group notes. Iran may be trying to pressure the West, for example, into reviving an atomic fuel swap deal that collapsed two years ago, by indicating that it soon won’t need foreign fuel.