Oil prices jumped Monday, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons Monday afternoon.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 1.69% to $69.12 a barrel at 1:30 p.m. ET. Brent, the international benchmark, rose 1.21% to $75.36. Both had been down more than a dollar after a report out Friday showed US drillers added five oil rigs last week, raising the tally to 825, the highest level since March 2015.
Netanyahu said in a press conference that Iran “lied big time” about its nuclear program and is keeping an “atomic archive” at a secret location. The Iran nuclear deal — which eases sanctions on Tehran so long as it curbs its nuclear program — has been in the spotlight as the international community anticipates a possible US exit from the deal.
Netanyahu over the weekend met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and spoke with President Donald Trump over the phone, according to the White House. Trump has said he will scrap the deal, which expires May 12.
The accusations come at a time of escalating tensions between Israel and Iran. Government outposts were attacked in missile strikes in northern Syria overnight, according to the Associated Press, killing dozens of pro-government fighters in the area — most of them Iranians.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday night it suspects that Israeli forces carried out the attacks.