Oil rises above $85 as traders eye Iran protests

February 15, 2011 11:59

SINGAPORE — Oil prices rose above $85 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as violent street protests in Iran raised fears crude supplies could be disrupted from one of world's biggest producers.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 26 cents at $85.07 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 77 cents to settle at $84.81 on Monday.

Pro-democracy protesters battled police in Tehran on Monday, emboldened by the protests in Egypt that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power last week. There have also been anti-government protests in Bahrain, Yemen and Algeria while mass demonstrations helped bring down Tunisia's long-time ruler Ben Ali earlier this year.

Iran is the second-largest oil exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries behind Saudi Arabia.

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