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Oil Price Rises After OPEC Leaves Output Target Unchanged

The price of oil has risen on Asian markets after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to leave current output levels unchanged.

The price of a barrel was approaching $85 in Asian trade on June 15 after falling to some $83 earlier in the week.

OPEC earlier formally rejected a proposal from Iran and Venezuela for the cartel to cut some 1.6 million barrels per day in a bid to drive the price higher.

However, the organization's secretary-general, Abdullah El-Badri, said he expected the 1.6 million-barrel cut to be imposed by members unofficially.

OPEC's official current output is some 30 million barrels per day, but OPEC officials have acknowledged the true figure is about 31.6 million.

In other news, the White House says President Barack Obama has spoken with King Abdullah of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.

Officials gave no details about the conversation on June 14, but the talk comes amid heightened concerns over the conflict in Syria and the imminent expansion of sanctions against Iran over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia has been a leading supporter of the Syrian opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and has backed providing foreign help to the rebels.

The conversation also came with new U.S. and European Union sanctions targeting Iran's lucrative oil sector due to come into force in July to punish Tehran for refusing to halt uranium-enrichment work.

Saudi Arabia has increased its oil output this year in anticipation of a drop in Iranian output.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters