The Italian-based playmaker has not played for Japan since a 2-1 victory over Singapore in the first round of Asian 2006 World Cup qualifiers a year ago due to groin and back injuries.
"He doesn't have to be Japan's saviour," said Zico, under pressure after Japan's lucky 2-1 win over North Korea in their opening game in the final round of Asian qualifiers.
"The captain will be Hide Nakata. He was at a low point but he is back now and he has an important job to do. He can give us a big lift."
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Japan won the Asian Cup without Nakata and fellow European-based midfielder Shinji Ono and Junichi Inamoto last year.
Feyenoord's Ono and Cardiff City's Inamoto are also back in Japan's squad for the visit to Tehran following lengthy injury layoffs.
Iran were held to a goalless draw in Bahrain in their opening Group B game last month.
The top two teams from each of the two four-team groups qualifies automatically for next year's World Cup in Germany.
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