US must lift pressure and apologize before Iran will negotiate: Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani said negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 April 2019

US must lift pressure and apologize before Iran will negotiate: Rouhani

  • Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after Washington announced the end of imports on Iranian oil
  • Khamenei on Wednesday called the US move a “hostile measure” that “won’t be left without a response”

GENEVA: Iran is willing to negotiate with America only when the United States lifts pressure and apologizes, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to state media.

Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.

“We have always been a man of negotiation and diplomacy, the same way that we’ve been a man of war and defense. Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologize for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called the US move a “hostile measure” that “won’t be left without a response.”

“US efforts to boycott the sale of Iran’s oil won’t get them anywhere. We will export our oil as much as we need and we intend,” his official English-language Twitter account said, quoting from a speech he delivered to workers in Tehran.

“They (the US) wishfully think they have blocked Iran oil sales, but our vigorous nation and vigilant officials, if they work hard, will open many blockades,” Khamenei said in the speech, partially aired on state TV.

“Enemies have repeatedly, in vain, taken action against our great nation (and our) revolution... but they must know Iranians won’t give in,” he added.

Khamenei, speaking in Tehran, also repeated his stance that Iran should move toward the sale of oil derivatives such as refined oil and petrochemical products instead of crude.

“I appreciate any decrease of dependency on this type of oil sales,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that the US must be prepared for consequences if it tries to stop Iran from selling oil and using the Strait of Hormuz, while also offering to negotiate prisoner swaps with Washington.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 23 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.