Iran says running 7,000 enrichment centrifuges

TEHRAN, April 9 Thu Apr 9, 2009 3:35pm BST

TEHRAN, April 9 (Reuters) - Iran is now running 7,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges, a senior official said on Thursday, an announcement likely to increase Western concerns about the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear plans.

Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, also said it had obtained the technology to produce more "accurate" centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium.

Referring to the inauguration of a nuclear fuel production plant by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier on Thursday, he said in a televised speech: "Today we praise ... the accomplishment of the last stage of the nuclear fuel cycle."

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Zahra Hosseinian, writing by Fredrik Dahl)