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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Tehran seeking role in Mid-East
By Miranda Eeles
BBC correspondent in Tehran

Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant
Iran has been accused of keeping some of its nuclear activities secret
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has warned that peace cannot come to the Middle East without the help of Iran.

Mr Khatami was responding to questions from reporters about American policies in the region.

He also said that Iran was willing to provide any guarantee to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it was not developing nuclear weapons.

Pressure is building on Iran ahead of a fresh round of discussions on Teheran's nuclear programme at the IAEA.

Iran accused

Speaking in Tehran, President Khatami said despite its many problems with the US, Iran would not let these effect its policies towards Iraq.

Mr Khatami said if the Americans had trusted Iraq's neighbours and countries in the region, instead of continuing their occupation, the problems in Iraq could have been solved.

American officials and some members of the Iraqi interim government have accused Iran of causing trouble in Iraq.

A visit to Tehran by the Iraqi deputy prime minister to try and ease relations between the two neighbours is expected soon.

US call

Mr Khatami also talked about what he described as Iran's natural and legal right to develop peaceful nuclear power.

Speaking positively about the negotiations with the IAEA, Mr Khatami said if the agency recognised Iran's right to enrich uranium and accepted it as a member of the nuclear club, all problems would be solved.

He then called for the IAEA board of governors to take Iran's case off the agenda by next month's meeting. He added that he believed this was unlikely, however.

The US has been lobbying the agency to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

Washington believes Tehran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, a charge that Iran denies.

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