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Trump holds up a Presidential Memorandum as he announces U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

In a statement to Iranian news agency Shana on Thursday, Iran's OPEC minister, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, addressed President Trump, who has been demanding on Twitter that OPEC lower oil prices, directly, hoping to set the record straight:

"Mr. President ... OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years. Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10/[barrel]. Please stop [tweeting], otherwise it will go even higher!"

The big picture: Ardebili argued that demanding lower oil prices may actually have had a hand in driving prices higher. OPEC agreed last month to increase oil production by 600,000 barrels per day to meet demand while avoiding too high a surfeit, but Trump continues to take aim at the organization for pushing oil prices too high.

Why it matters: Trump has made it a talking point that the U.S. spends too much money defending OPEC members to be subject to high oil prices, calling for a "two way street." Ardebili challenged that notion: "[T]here [isn't] that much oil available to respond to your orders, you are hammering on the good guys in OPEC [who you claim to defend]."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

After OPEC agreed to increase production late last month, Trump claimed to have made a separate deal with Saudi Arabia to increase production by up to 2 million barrels per day. That's highly unlikely (Saudi Arabia's total spare capacity, which they use prudently, believed to be roughly 2 million barrels), but Ardebili said statements like that "discredit" OPEC members and the organization as a whole.

Be smart: The demands to increase production are aggravating tensions between the U.S. and some OPEC members. Trump wants greater supply from countries like Iran and Venezuela, even while he imposes greater sanctions on their economies.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden administration seeks to allow separated migrant families to reunite in U.S.

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Monday that the Biden administration will explore "lawful pathways" to allow migrant families separated under the Trump administration to reunite in the U.S.

Why it matters: Biden has pledged to reunite the hundreds of families still separated as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, and signed an executive order last month creating a family separation task force chaired by Mayorkas.

CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions

CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."

Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces "ultra-millionaire" wealth tax bill

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.

Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.

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