An Iranian news report says Iran will soon begin enriching uranium with a newly-installed network of centrifuges.

The Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) quotes an unidentified official as saying the country's second set or cascade of centrifuges was installed two weeks ago and will begin operating this week.

On Monday, diplomats in Vienna reported Iran is now testing the new equipment. Tehran has been enriching uranium since April, in defiance of the U.N. Security Council.

Enriched uranium can be used for both energy production and weapons building.

Iran faces possible U.N. sanctions for the enrichment, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes. Western nations suspect the country is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Also Wednesday, Russian news media report that nuclear officials in Moscow say delays in the construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant are for technical and not political reasons.

The head of Russia's nuclear equipment monopoly, Sergei Shmatko, said Iran's first atomic plant, which had been scheduled to be finished at the end of 2006, has been subject to delays that are of a "technical and management nature."

Last month, Iran and Russia agreed that the Russian-built reactor will officially open next September, but Russia will begin shipping fuel by March.

The United States has long been concerned that despite international safeguards, operating the Bushehr plant may provide Iran with valuable information that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.