The Nigeria midfielder admitted his side should have created more on Monday, but felt the negative approach of the opposition was an influential factor behind the goalless draw
In a dire affair that produced the first goalless draw of the competition, the Super Eagles struggled for any sort of attacking fluency, with their star men anonymous.
Mikel, who operated in an unfamiliar No.10 role, in stark contrast to his deep-lying midfield position at Chelsea, was handed the man-of-the-match award for attempting to at least stamp some authority on proceedings.
After the game, the Chelsea man admitted his side had come up short in the final third and said they will need to be sharper in front of goal if they are to reach the knockout stages.
He said: "We are very disappointed because the opening match is very important.
"We looked for the win, but Iran knew what we wanted to do and put 11 men behind the ball. They managed to stop us from playing our game.
"We’ll have to create more chances in our next match and be sharp in front of goal."
Next up for Nigeria are Bosnia in Cuiaba on Saturday night.