Speaking to the BBC while visiting London, Khatamai, regarded as a reformist when he was the Iranian president, also urged the United States and Britain to leave Iraq to reduce violence in that country.
On U.S. efforts to bring Western-style democracy to the Middle East, Khatami said, "It's a great joke -- the greatest joke that (U.S. President) Bush said, that he would like to export democracy to the Middle East. Democracy is not something to get exported."
Khatami, who served two terms as president before being replaced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said he remains committed to fighting extremism around the world. He said his country is supporting efforts to build strong governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, adding their neighbors should be in charge of solving the problems of regional security.