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In early market news, oil prices rose above $62 a barrel on reports Iran has seized 15 British sailors at gunpoint off the coast of Iraq.

The development comes amid heightened tensions between the Bush administration and Iran on the eve of this weekend’s emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Tehran’s nuclear program, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to attend. Tehran is reporting the U.S. has not yet issued him a visa, but the White House said today “the Iranian comment is false.”

The military build-up in the Persian Gulf region is in anticipation of any provocation from Iran that would require an immediate response.

Further heightening tension with Tehran, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, the international affairs director of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company, announced today almost all of Iran’s European clients and some Asian clients are now making their oil payments in non-dollar currencies.

As WND has reported, Iran is seeking to move away from the dollar to cause the U.S. economic harm.


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