The administration said Iran must end its support for international terrorism and hostage-taking if it wants to normalize relations with the United States.

The comment, by State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler on Tuesday, was made following a remark Monday by Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that Tehran was "ready to embark on mutual cooperation with regional and non-regional countries" to promote peace."It's our view that if Iran wishes to re-emerge as a full member of the community of nations, it knows well what it is expected to do," Tutwiler said. "First and foremost, Iran must take action to end its support for international terrorism and hostage-taking."

Tutwiler, talking at the department's daily briefing, said Iran is being taken seriously when it asserts that it wants to improve ties with the West.

"But, concerning our country, there are two things that must be done before that can take place," she said. "End of sponsorship of state-sponsored terrorism and hostage-taking."

Twelve Western hostages are held in Lebanon, including six Americans, by radical groups.

Tutwiler said the administration believes "a more normal relationship between the United States and Iran would be in the interest of both countries."