On the 40th anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei proclaimed on September 21 that the eight-year war was an Iranian victory against the major powers. The United States, Europeans and the Soviet Union had supported President Saddam Hussein—with arms, intelligence and diplomatic support—in his attempt to topple the Islamic Republic. “The whole world did whatever it could, but they failed to achieve their goal in the end,” he said. “Is there any victory better than this?”
The war ended in a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in August 1988.
Khamenei delivered the speech at an event honoring “martyrs” and veterans from one of the grizzliest conflicts in Middle East history. The audience included military officers and religious clerics separated by framed portraits of martyrs on seats in between them. The Iranian government counted more than 180,000 Iranian deaths from the war.
Khamenei also used the occasion to pay homage to Qassem Soleimani, the Qods Force general who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in December 2019. “No one has yet understood the extent of his activities,” the leader said. “Perhaps in the future, we will gradually come to know what he did.” The following are excerpts from Khamenei’s speech on the 40th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war:
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a televised speech on September 21:
“Despite the whole-hearted support that many countries in the world offered to the Ba’athist regime of Iraq, Iran was able to be victorious in the war.”
During the first years of the war, which were shortly after the Islamic Revolution, the armed forces weren't in good shape and we were extremely short of equipment. These persuaded the enemy to attack us. Imam Khomeini managed the war amazingly under such conditions.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) September 21, 2020
“The U.S. and other powers started a war with the purpose of overthrowing the Islamic Republic, but they were defeated. Iran’s victory in this war is as clear as the existence of the sun. The whole world did whatever it could, but they failed to achieve their goal in the end. Is there any victory better than this?”
“However, in the war that Saddam waged against Iran (1980-1988), he failed to separate even one inch of Iran’s land even though the U.S., the Soviet Union and NATO were supporting him.”
In the 8-year war on Iran, Saddam was just a tool in the hands of big powers like the U.S. that were seriously harmed by the 1979 Revolution, or govts that worried about the creation of a new Islamic power in the region. The USSR, some European countries & NATO were against us.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) September 21, 2020
“Since the beginning, our late Imam knew that the war between Iraq and Iran was not an ordinary war between two neighboring countries. He knew who the main enemy in the war was and realized that Saddam was a mere instrument. He always said that the U.S. was worse than the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union worse than the U.S., and England worse than both of them. In other words, he had understood that these powers were the main elements working behind the scenes of the war.”
Overall, wars are cruel & violent, but the Iranian nation's Sacred Defense brought blessings too. One such was moving toward new technologies. At the start, we didn't have missiles. Thanks to our young experts’ efforts, we started making missiles & became a missile power.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) September 21, 2020
“Countless people who were involved in the Sacred Defense continued to render services in different areas of the country in those days, are continuing to do so at the present time, and will continue to do so in the future with God’s grace. Martyr Soleimani was one example. No one has yet understood the extent of his activities. Perhaps in the future, we will gradually come to know what he did.”