- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Crude oil prices rose above $73 a barrel yesterday on supply concerns after Iran defied a U.N. Security Council deadline to stop enriching uranium.

Also lifting energy prices were refinery outages in Italy and California, and violence in Nigeria, the fifth-largest source of U.S. oil imports.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose $1.82 to settle at $73.70 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices briefly dipped below $71 last week after surging above $75 the previous week.

“Once prices retreated toward $70, we saw the speculators come back in,” said Fimat USA broker Mike Fitzpatrick.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator declared Sunday that his country was “allergic to the suspension” of uranium enrichment, while its president insisted Iran was within its rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium to fuel reactors for civilian electricity generation.

Friday marked the U.N. Security Council deadline for Iran to stop uranium enrichment, and International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei has issued a report certifying Iran was in violation.

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