Oil prices have edged up again in the Asian trade amid concerns that a shortage in global supplies may push up the value of crude after Iran’s move to cut oil sales to certain EU states.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in April, gained 24 cents to reach $107.30 per barrel while the Brent North Sea crude for May settlement held above $126 a barrel on Monday.
Global oil prices have climbed this year following Iran’s move to cut oil exports to British and French firms in response to the European block’s oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran also announced it may halt oil exports to more European countries.
The decision by Iran came in response to the EU's oil sanctions against the country.
European Union foreign ministers approved sanctions against Iran on January 23, including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the country’s Central Bank within EU states and a ban on selling diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
The EU has placed the oil sanctions against Iran in a bid to pressure Tehran over its nuclear energy program, based on false allegations that Iran is seeking to weaponize its nuclear technology.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Moreover, Iran’s nuclear activities are closely monitored by the IAEA, which has conducted numerous inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence indicating a military diversion in Tehran's nuclear energy program.