Oil rises 47 cents, settling at $68.57, after Netanyahu claims evidence Iran sought nuclear weapons

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Oil prices jumped after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed files he claims show Iran ran a secret program to produce nuclear weapons.

The oil market has been on edge ahead of a May 12 deadline, when President Donald Trump must decide whether to continue waiving sanctions against Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal or restore the penalties on OPEC’s third-largest oil producer.

U.S. crude prices rose from a session low of $67.17 a barrel to above $69.34 a barrel following Netanyahu’s statement. The contract fell back to $68.42 a barrel, still up 32 cents, after the speech.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, hit a session peak of $75.41 off a low of $73.47. Brent was last up 56 cents at $75.20.

Prices began moving higher after Netanyahu’s office promised a “significant development” regarding the Iran nuclear deal was coming.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran is sticking to the terms of the 2015 accord, which Tehran negotiated with the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K.

Under the agreement, Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program and opened its facilities to international inspectors in exchange for the international community lifting sanctions on its economy.

Newly sworn-in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Netanyahu this weekend. The Trump administration has said it will withdraw the United States from the nuclear deal next month if it cannot reach an agreement with European partners to toughen the terms of the accord.

French President Emmanuel Macron is working with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to salvage the deal, following Macron’s meeting with Trump last week.

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