Oil prices settle mixed amid geopolitical risks

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NEW YORK, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices were mixed on Monday amid market concerns over heightening geopolitical risks after Iran crossed the 3.67 percent limit of uranium enrichment purity.

The West Texas Intermediate for August delivery climbed 15 U.S. cents to settle at 57.66 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for September delivery fell 12 cents to close at 64.11 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on Monday announced that Iran has raised the concentration of its enriched uranium to 4.5 percent, crossing the limit of 3.67 percent set by the 2015 nuclear deal, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman, told IRNA that the enriched uranium of up to 5 percent of purity is used as fuel for power plants.

Earlier on the day, Kamalvandi said that Iran will aim at production of 20 percent uranium enrichment as the next step if the signatories to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, do not help Iran benefit from the economic privileges of the deal, according to Tasnim news agency.

On Sunday, Iran announced that it had started measures to enrich uranium beyond 3.67 purity.

A year after the U.S. unilateral exit from the nuclear deal, Iran withdrew from part of the nuclear deal on May 8 and threatened more actions in case its interests under the pact cannot be guaranteed.

Energy prices got support as traders were worried that geopolitical tensions in the Middle East may disrupt oil flows. However, the gains were capped as market participants continued to fret over global economic slowdown, which would impact oil demand, experts noted. Enditem

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