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Brent oil price holds near $107, Iran back in spotlight as new sanctions passed

Brent oil prices open today’s trading session at $107 a barrel as Iran comes back into the spotlight after the UK, the US and Canada announced new sanctions against Iran overnight, with the US for the first time targeting the country’s oil industry.

Latest Brent Oil Price

In London, Brent crude oil futures for January 2012 delivery was trading at $107.25 a barrel, 07.43 GMT this morning on the ICE Futures Exchange.

The European oil contract closed yesterday’s trading session 0.5 percent lower at $107.02 as stock markets around the world once again slumped.

Iran Targeted With More Sanctions

Yesterday, the UK, US and Canada announced that they were levelling additional sanctions on Iran’s financial sector because of a report by the UN atomic energy watchdog strongly suggesting Tehran was researching nuclear weapons.

With UN sanctions blocked by Chinese and Russian opposition, the new United States, British and Canadian measures target Iran’s central bank and the vital energy sector.

Notably, the measures seek to limit the West’s links with Iran’s Central Bank, which has been key in funneling proceeds of energy sales to Iran’s government.

France went one step further, calling on international partners to impose a freeze of Iran’s central banks assets and an oil embargo, but did not announce sanctions on Monday.

With speculation about a possible Israeli military strike against Iran reaching fever pitch, Paris also warned of the added risk of a military escalation in the region.

“The consequences of which will be catastrophic for Iran and for the world.”

There was a muted market reaction to the news.

Oil prices in London and New York were pushed lower by fears about debt levels in the US and Europe.

Some experts have cautioned that targeting the Iranian Central Bank could have a profound impact on Iran’s economy and push up crude oil prices at a time when most Western economies are already struggling.

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