NICOSIA, CYPRUS, DEC. 13 -- Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said today that Iran might launch a joint initiative with Algeria to prevent war over Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

Welcoming Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid in Tehran on a Persian Gulf peace mission, Rafsanjani told Iranian television:

"The situation in the region is reaching a critical point and serious action is necessary. . . . We will review the results of his {Bendjedid's} talks so far in his tour and then, God willing, we will take a joint action to save the region from the danger of war."

Rafsanjani did not elaborate. But Bendjedid, who held talks in Amman and Baghdad before going to Tehran, said Iran had a "great and critical role" to play in resolving regional disputes.

Iran and Algeria both wanted a peaceful solution to the confrontation sparked by Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, the television quoted him as saying. Both Iran and Algeria have condemned Iraq's seizure of Kuwait and the U.S.-led military buildup in the Persian Gulf.

Rafsanjani said Wednesday a regional solution is essential because the U.S. position would be strengthened if Iraq had to retreat under American pressure.

Bendjedid is due to fly to Oman Friday and then to visit Saudi Arabia and perhaps Syria.

Saudi Arabia has so far reacted coolly to Bendjedid's initiative.