0336 GMT January 19, 2019
“The Iranian nation will never give up Imam Khomeini’s legacy namely Islamism and Republicanism”, he said during a visit to the mausoleum of the Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.
Rouhani and his cabinet ministers made the visit to the shrine in southern Tehran to renew their allegiance with Ayatollah Khomeini’s ideals.
The president said “the people will protect national sovereignty, independence and freedom”.
"As long as people love the culture of Islam and love their Iran and safeguard their national unity, no superpower can change the path of this nation," he said, taking a jab at the United States.
Rouhani, however, warned that popular support could be at risk if officials ignore people’s demand.
"All officials of the country should have a listening ear for people's demands and wishes," Rouhani said.
He said the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was topple in the 1979 Islamic Revolution because it “did not hear the voice of reformers, advisors, scholars, elites, and the educated."
"The previous regime thought monarchical rule would last forever, but it lost everything for this very reason – that it did not hear the criticism of the people," he added.
Rouhani noted that “criticism and protest are people’s rights” and that “no one can stop the great people of Iran from expressing their views, criticism and even protest”.
He said the shah's regime “only heard the voice of the popular revolution... and by then, it was too late."
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei also paid tribute to the late founder of the Islamic Republic as he visited the Ayatollah Khomeini Mausoleum.
The Leader visited the Ayatollah Khomeini Mausoleum on Wednesday on the eve of the anniversary of the Imam’s return to Iran from forced exile by the Pahlavi regime in Paris in 1979.
Iranians hold eleven-day-long celebrations every year, starting with the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s return and culminating in the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution’s victory.
The Leader then paid his respects to the Iranian martyrs who lost their lives in terrorist operations by the anti-Iran and anti-revolutionary Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) and Iraq’s 1980-88 imposed war on the Islamic Republic as well as other martyrs.
AP, AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.