France condemns failed Iran satellite launch, urges halt to missile tests

A missile next to a portrait of Iran’s supreme leader is seen at Baharestan Square. Iran’s bid to send a satellite into orbit failed on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 16 January 2019

France condemns failed Iran satellite launch, urges halt to missile tests

  • Iran’s bid to send a satellite into orbit failed on Tuesday
  • The US warned Iran this month against undertaking three planned rocket launches

PARIS, LONDON: France on Wednesday condemned a failed Iranian satellite launch that it said used technology applicable to long-range missiles and urged Tehran to stop all ballistic tests which are not in line with UN resolutions.

It was the latest in a string of French comments expressing irritation at Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program despite attempts over the last two years by France and other European powers to open talks on the subject with Iranian authorities.

“The Iranian ballistic program is a source of concern for the international community and France,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said.

Iran’s bid to send a satellite into orbit failed on Tuesday as the space vehicle, named Payam, did not reach adequate speed in the third stage of the launch.

Ignoring US and European warnings to avoid such activity, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would be ready for a new satellite launch in a few months. “We have achieved great success in building satellites and launching them. That means we are on the right track,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by state media.

“The remaining problems are minor, will be resolved in a few months, and we will soon be ready for a new launch.”

Iran, which considers its space program a matter of national pride, has said its space-vehicle launches and missile tests are not violations of UN resolutions and would continue.

Iran has repeatedly denied any intent to develop nuclear weapons and curbed its disputed uranium enrichment program under a 2015 deal with world powers.

But the pact is now at risk after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from it, in part because it did not cover Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran.

Western concern

Western powers are concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. 

“We call on Iran not to proceed with new ballistic missile tests designed to be able to carry nuclear weapons, including space launchers, and urge Iran to respect its obligations under all UN Security Council resolutions,” von der Muhll said.

The US warned Iran this month against undertaking three planned rocket launches that it said would violate a UN Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 22 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.