Oil prices rise on Iran jitters

World oil prices rose today amid heightened tensions between the West and major crude producer Iran, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in March, gained 73 cents to USD 101.47 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for March delivery meanwhile rose 51 cents to USD 117.86 in midday London deals.

"Supply worries surrounding Iran... supported sentiment in the face of weak demand," analysts from Australia's Commonwealth Bank said in a commentary.

A senior Thai intelligence officer, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said Israeli diplomats were the target of a failed bomb plot by three Iranian suspects in Bangkok.

Separately, there are concerns about the United States after government data yesterday showed retail sales in January were weaker than expected in the world's biggest oil-consuming nation.

The retail sales report came on the eve of today's official weekly reading on US energy stockpiles.

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