SINGAPORE: Oil prices were up in Asian trade Tuesday as concerns over Iran came to the fore on the eve of talks between Tehran and Western countries on its nuclear ambitions, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, advanced six cents to $92.63 a barrel on its last trading day, and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery gained nine cents to $108.90.
Traders were buying crude ahead of Iran's meeting with the P5+1 grouping of diplomats in Baghdad where sanctions against Tehran will likely be discussed, said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist for ANZ Research in Singapore.
“Iran is front and centre in the market right now,” Trevethan told AFP.
The P5+1 group comprises the five permanent UN Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.
The meeting is the second round of talks between Iran and the group, with the first held on April 14 in Istanbul after a 15-month impasse.
Iran faces a raft of sanctions from the United Nations, the United States and the European Union over suspicions that the Islamic republic's nuclear programme masks a push to develop atomic weapons.
However, Tehran insists that the programme is for peaceful uses, and has pressed Western nations to lift sanctions against it.
Several major customers of Iranian crude including India, Japan and Turkey have said they would reduce imports on Iranian oil, while a European Union crude embargo on Tehran is due to be fully implemented from July 1.