Khatami told a Kazakhstan television station that Iran is like any other developing nation and is developing nuclear power to conserve its hydrocarbons and improver the environment.
"The world's developed countries are using nuclear energy and trying to replace fossil fuels with other sources of energy for a better environment and Iran wants to do the same," Khatami said.
Western nations led by the United States have consistently portrayed Iran's nuclear program as a front for weapons development.
Khatami chalked the opposition up to Western politics, Iranian Press TV reported Saturday, and called for similar pressure to be applied to Israel.
Khatami stated Israel had an arsenal of about 200 nuclear warheads.