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Crude Oil Prices Jump as Netanyahu Takes Aim at Iran

© AP Photo / DEBBIE HILLIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the official ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, at the National Memorial Hall for Israel's Fallen, in Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery, Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2018.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the official ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, at the National Memorial Hall for Israel's Fallen, in Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery, Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. - Sputnik International
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Crude oil prices rallied on Monday and extended gains on the following day as Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu claims he has information proving Iran sought nuclear weapons after signing a 2015 deal with global powers.

Citing documents obtained from a "highly secret location", Netanyahu claimed during a TV address to his country that Iran secretly worked to produce nuclear weapons after signing the Iran nuclear deal that eased sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for a halt to nuclear weapons research.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the conference Russia in the Middle East: Playing on all fields held by the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow - Sputnik International
Netanyahu's Charges Against Iran Not New, Dealt With by IAEA - Iranian Minister
Following the statement, oil prices immediately jumped.

US West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery was up 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $68.68 a barrel by 0114 GMT, after settling up 47 cents on Monday.

London Brent crude for new July delivery was up 11 cents at $74.80. The June contract expired on Monday, settling up 53 cents at $75.17.

READ MORE: ‘Either a Liar or an Idiot': Netanyahu's Iran Claims Insult Integrity of IAEA

Experts say the oil market is particularly sensitive to any developments on the nuclear deal and sanctions. Oil prices have risen this month to their highest since late 2014, driven by concerns over potential disruptions to Iranian crude flows.

Hezbollah fighter stands at a watchtower (File) - Sputnik International
Israel Warns of 80,000 Iran-Backed ‘Extremists’ Operating in Syria
The accusations by Israel come less than two weeks before US President Donald Trump is set to decide on May 12 whether to continue waiving sanctions against Iran under the terms of the deal or scrap the agreement and restore the penalties on OPEC's third-largest oil producer.

Iran has dismissed Netanyahu's accusations, calling them "propaganda."

"Pres. Trump is jumping on a rehash of old allegations already dealt with by the IAEA to "nix" the deal. How convenient. Coordinated timing of alleged intelligence revelations by the boy who cries wolf just days before May 12. But Trump's impetuousness to celebrate blew the cover," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif  said on Twitter.    

A general view shows the reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, 1200 kms south of Tehran, on August 20, 2010 - Sputnik International
Macron, Rouhani Agree to Work on Preserving Iran's Nuclear Deal - Elysee Palace
The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 accord, which Tehran negotiated with the US, China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK.

On July 14, 2015, after several years of diplomatic work, the European Union and the P5+1 group of countries signed the JCPOA with Tehran. The accord stipulated a gradual lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program and allowing inspections to ensure that the nature of the program is peaceful.    

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