Iman Mobali's winner six minutes from time saw Iran come from a goal down to edge out neighbours Iraq and get their Asian Cup bid off to a winning start.
Younus Mahmood put Iraq in front after 13 minutes but Gholam Reza Rezaei equalised shortly before the interval, before Mobali struck in the 84th minute to take the points in the Group D clash.
Iraq started much the better and Mahmood had a chance to break the deadlock after just four minutes when he sprang the offside trap but keeper Mahdi Rahmati was equal to his effort.
The Al Gharafa striker gave his side the lead nine minutes later when he was on hand to slide the ball home from almost on the line after Emad Mohammed had headed a left-wing cross back across the face of goal from the far post.
Iran levelled in the 42nd minute when Andranik Teymourian's incisive pass fed Rezaei and he beat keeper Mohammed Kassid.
Rahmati then tipped Ala'a Abdulzahra's header over the bar as Iraq looked to hit back immediately as the sides went in all square at the break.
Rezaei fired into the side netting as Iran stepped up the pressure in the second period before they eventually found the winning goal in the 84th minute.
Samer Saeed gave away a needless foul for pulling striker Mohammad Reza Khalatbari's shirt and Mobali fired the resultant free-kick past Kassid.
Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi dedicated his side's 2-1 Asian Cup victory over
neighbours Iraq to the victims of Sunday's plane disaster that killed over 70
people in the north-west of the country.
``I would like first to dedicate this victory to the families who lost their relatives in the air crash. The players tried their best to get the win as a sign of condolence for those families,'' he said. ``Football is only a sport and if we can do something special then we are happy about that.''
Ghotbi added that although he always expected the encounter to prove tricky for
his men, he felt they had enough quality throughout the side to overhaul their
neighbours once they had fallen behind.
``The game was complicated for us because of the rivalry between the two sides
and also it was the first match of the tournament, while Iraq are the defending
champions,'' he added.
``After going one down, I was confident that we could come back. I have
experience of playing against Iraq and they are the masters of killing time so I
thought that if we scored before half-time then we had a chance to win.''
Iraq boss Wolfgang Sidka, meanwhile, felt his side were worth at least a point
after letting slip a one-goal lead.
``I think that Iran played very well and it was a match of the same level. We
created some chances and for me it was a 50/50 game,'' said the German.
``However, what we missed today was ball retention and it was difficult to pass
the ball around because Iran put pressure on us in the second half.
``It was a good end for Iran but the goal that we conceded was from an
unnecessary foul and we knew before the match that they were dangerous from