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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump resumed his attacks on OPEC Thursday morning amid oil prices that have climbed to their highest level in two months.

"We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!"
— President Trump

Quick take: With the caveat that it’s quite possible to over-interpret Trump’s tweets, today's action underscores the tricky oil politics facing the White House.

  • Trump is moving ahead with sanctions against Iran that are already curbing their exports ahead of formal reimposition in November.
  • But keeping Iranian barrels off the market tightens supply and puts upward pressure on prices, which creates political risks for Republicans, particularly before midterm elections.
  • OPEC’s output already reached a 9-month high in August, according to the International Energy Agency.

Also breaking Thursday: Per S&P Global Platts, "Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh on Thursday said he would veto any OPEC deal that imperils Tehran's oil market share, complicating the organization's talks with Russia and other partners to institutionalize their supply management accord beyond this year."

  • The comments come just ahead of this weekend's meeting of a committee monitoring the supply pact between OPEC, Russia and some other non-OPEC producers.
  • The session is aimed at putting meat on the bones of the broad agreement last June to raise output, Platts notes.

The big picture: This Bloomberg piece Thursday from the same interview Zanganeh did with the two outlets offers a wide-angle look at the cartel's dynamics.

  • It notes that his remarks reflect Iran's concerns about its "growing isolation" within OPEC and the looming U.S. sanctions. Per Bloomberg:
A flourishing partnership between its arch-rival Saudi Arabia and Russia shows signs of eclipsing OPEC’s preeminence as a global source of crude.
At the same time, Iran’s traditional ally within OPEC — Venezuela — is struggling to stave off economic collapse.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

4 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.