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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]."

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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.

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