Top Iranian officials say their country took "too big a bite" trying to defeat Iraq, and pointed to U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf as having tipped the scales in their war against Iraq.
In a series of unusually frank interviews with the official Islamic Republic News Agency, President Ali Khamenei, Parliament Speaker Ha-shemi Rafsanjani and Chief Justice Musavi Ardebili also said the Islamic revolution is still a long way from achieving its goals.The comments on the Iran-Iraq war were the first by senior figures to shed light on the inner workings of Tehran's military planning and its eventual decision to accept the U.N.-mediated cease-fire last summer after eight years of fighting.
The interviews, monitored in Nicosia in recent days, came as Iran celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution with the leadership divided over the country's future.
IRNA quoted Rafsanjani, also acting commander-in-chief of Iran's army, as saying of Iran's aim of military victory: "We took too big a bite."
Rafsanjani is considered the second most powerful figure in Iran.
Ardebili noted that Iran suffered a severe jolt when the United States and several European navies intervened in the Persian Gulf to protect shipping from Iranian attack.