The United States called Monday on Iran to encourage Islamic militants to accept Israel''s existence, after firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tehran could accept a two-state solution.

Ahmadinejad, in an interview with the US network ABC broadcast on Sunday, said it would be "fine with us" if the Palestinians reached a two-state solution that accepts Israel.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the United States wanted Iran to "play a positive role in the region, which up until now it hasn''t."

"If Iran wants to show goodwill, it should encourage those forces that it supports that are opposed to a two-state solution to cease their opposition and work constructively toward helping us reach that two-state solution," he said.

Iran is a top supporter of the Palestinian militant movement Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, both sworn enemies of any compromise with the Jewish state.

Ahmadinejad did not specify if Iran would recognize Israel if there were a two-state solution creating an independent Palestine. Iran was an ally of Israel until its 1979 Islamic revolution.