Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani says Iran has successfully restarted an experimental cascade of 164 centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

Rafsanjani told the Kuwait news agency Tuesday that Iran has reached industrial production with the centrifuges at a nuclear fuel plant in Natanz.

Iran shut down the centrifuges in 2003, while negotiating with Britain, France and Germany over the fate of its nuclear program. Tehran began reactivating the centrifuges earlier this year, after talks with the Europeans broke down.

The United Nations Security Council, which is reviewing Iran's nuclear program, has demanded that Tehran suspend enrichment activities by April 28. But Iran has rejected the demand, saying it has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, visits Iran later this week, and is due to brief the Security Council later in the month on Iran's nuclear activities.

Earlier Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would announce what he called "good news" about the atomic program.

The United States has accused Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .