TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Monday said the 1980-88 war by Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein showed Iran can defend itself.
"Trying for eight years, doing everything they can, and yet achieving nothing -- is there a greater victory for Iran?” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader made the remarks in a televised video address to top military commanders and war veterans across the country, delivered at the beginning of "Holy Defense” week marking the war’s anniversary.
"The Holy Defense showed that aggression towards this country is very costly,” he said.
"When a nation shows it has the power and determination to defend itself and delivers a crushing response to aggressors, it causes the aggressor to think twice before attacking,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.
"And if it wants to act wisely, it would realize it is not to its benefit and is very costly.”
Saddam invaded Iran a year and a half after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, triggering the war that was eventually brought to an end through a UN-brokered ceasefire.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the conflict made Iran’s revolution "much stronger” than it was before. The war taught us that "some things that appear to be impossible are actually possible.”
The Leader also reminded that Western powers armed Saddam while depriving Iran of aid, saying it showed "the truth and the nature of the Western civilization”.
Documents that surfaced later showed that the U.S. had clinched several agreements with Saddam before the war, the Leader said, adding during the war too, Washington generously provided the former Iraqi dictator with intelligence and arms.
"The U.S. and other powers started the war to overthrow the Islamic Republic, but they were defeated. Iran’s victory in this war is as obvious as the sun. The whole world used all their strengths for eight years but failed to achieve their goal,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei reminded how weapon-laden vessels would dock at regional ports to shore up the invading forces against Iran on a daily basis during the wartime.
His speech came after the United States unilaterally declared that UN sanctions against Iran were back in force and threatened to impose "consequences” on states that fail to comply, in a move berated by world countries.
The move was dismissed as legally void by other world powers and other nations.
Iran and the United States have come to the brink of direct confrontation twice since June 2019.
Ayatollah Khamenei called on officials to preserve the memory of the war as "part of the national identity” of Iranians by creating works of literature on a global scale.
The Leader said Sacred Defense constitutes part of the country’s national identity because it amounted to supreme manifestation of popular contribution.
Iran this year cancelled a military parade held annually to mark the war’s anniversary over the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 24,400 and infected over 425,000 in the Islamic Republic since March.
Ayatollah Khamenei urged Iranians to better observe health protocols such as social distancing and wearing masks, noting that the virus kills around 150 people every day in the country.
"Suppose a plane with 300 people on board crashes every two days and everyone dies. Is this a small thing?” the Leader said.