Oil prices inched higher on Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Israel had proof that Iran lied about its nuclear weapons program.
The Brent Crude benchmark fell to $72.91 early on Monday, but rallied to as high as $75.34 in later-day trading after Netanyahu cited thousands of documents that Israel had obtained which showed Iran had lied repeatedly and “brazenly.”
In a succinct phrase that’s more indicative of U.S. President Donald Trump, Netanyahu said in a televised address “I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time.”
Specifically, Israel is claiming that Iran lied when it said it did not have a “comprehensive program to design, build, and test nuclear weapons.” Netanyahu went on to say in the address that Tehran’s Project Amad was designed to produce five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield—warheads that could be placed onto a missile.
Netanyahu called on President Trump to “do the right thing”—a comment that is particularly poignant given the May 12 deadline for issuing yet another sanctions waiver to Iran.
The approaching May 12 deadline and the very real possibility that President Trump will not grant Iran another waiver has kept oil prices supported in recent weeks, and today’s accusations regarding Tehran’s nuclear inclinations sent prices even higher as analysts estimate that Iranian sanctions could add between $2 and $10 per barrel to oil prices this year, according to a Bloomberg poll.
Netanyahu’s prodding of President Trump may prove to be unnecessary, as President Trump warned in January when he waived the sanctions that it was the last such waiver.
Should the Iranian nuclear deal fall apart, it could remove anywhere from 200,000 bpd to 1 million bpd from the market.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.