The Middle Eastern outfit were minutes away from earning a hard-fought point against one of the pre-tournament favourites in Belo Horizonte this evening.
"I'm proud of my players because we competed for the whole 90 minutes," he told FIFA.com at full time.
"We tried to deny them space when they attacked, but then I put two strikers on because we wanted to win and you have to take risks if you want to do that.
"The fact is, though, that Messi can change games just like that. He kept looking and looking and in the end he got his reward."
The Iranians conclude their campaign by facing Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday.