Picture: (AFP/Atta Kenare)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad (R), review an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony for Assad in Tehran. Assad arrived in Tehran on Saturday for talks with staunch regional ally Iran that an official says would include the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear ambitions.

By ALEX KENNEDY

Oil prices rose to near US$125.50 a barrel today in Asia on concern that a showdown over Iran’s nuclear program could threaten crude supplies out of the Middle East.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the United States would have no choice “but to begin again to prepare sanctions resolutions for the (U.N.) Security Council” if Iran did not halt the development of its uranium enrichment program.

Rice says that given the U.N.’s current scheduling, sanctions probably could not be expected in the next few weeks, but the U.S. will begin working with allies toward that goal.

“There’s concern about a potential confrontation down the line,” says Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz consultancy in Singapore.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 49 cents to US$125.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by late afternoon in Singapore. The contract gained US$1.02 on Friday to settle at US$125.10 a barrel.

In London, September Brent crude was up 50 cents at US$124.68 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that diplomacy is the only way out of his country’s standoff with the West as an informal deadline expired on an offer of economic and other incentives by sixworld powers if Iran agreed to curb enrichment.

Iran’s leader made the comments a day after asserting that his country would not give up its “nuclear rights,” signaling that it would refuse demands to stop enriching uranium or at least not to expand its enrichment work.

MRN-AP

MRN

Author: MRN Network

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