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HOUSTON: Oil prices fell slightly on Tuesday after economic headwinds offset support provided by the United States’ announcement of plans to hit Iran with new sanctions after the Middle Eastern country’s weekend attack on Israel.

Brent crude futures for June delivery edged down 15 cents, or 0.17%, to $89.95 a barrel by 12:26 p.m. EDT (1626 GMT). US crude for May fell 8 cents, or 0.09%, to $85.33.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Philip Jefferson said the US central bank was ready to keep its tight monetary policy in place if inflation fails to slow as expected.

“Rising interest rates are killing markets, as it appears the Fed is stuck in the mud, while the economy continues to inflate,” said Tim Snyder, economist at Matador Economics.

Concerns that Iran would respond to the April 1 strike on its embassy compound in Damascus had sent Brent to $92.18 on Friday, its highest level since October.

But prices retreated on Monday after Iran’s attack on Israel over the weekend proved to be less damaging than anticipated, and economic challenges added further pressure.

“So far, markets appear rather sanguine to the rising tensions, and cautiously optimistic that Israel’s response will be restrained, and that an all-out war will be sidestepped,” said Matthew Ryan, head of market strategy at global financial services firm Ebury.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US intends to hit Iran with new sanctions in coming days due to its unprecedented attack on Israel, and that these actions could seek to reduce Iran’s capacity to export oil.

“However, any further developments regarding retaliation could raise the risk premium on oil, particularly given Iran’s position as OPEC’s third-largest producer,” she added.

Iran produces more than 3 million barrels per day of crude oil as a major producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Iran will respond to any action against its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi was reported as saying by the Iranian Student News Agency a day after Israel warned it will respond to Tehran’s drone and missile attack.

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