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Iran Says Trump’s Tweets Are Responsible for Rising Oil Prices

President Donald Trump’s tough stance on Iran’s oil exports is apparently not the only thing that may be causing the price of a barrel to rise.

Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s OPEC representative, said on Thursday that Trump’s tweet calling on OPEC to reduce oil prices is actually having the opposite effect—causing oil prices to rise even more.

“You impose sanctions on major producers, founders of OPEC, and yet you are asking them to reduce the prices?! Since when did you start ordering OPEC! Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10/b,” Kazempour said in a message published by Iranian Oil Ministry’s Shana news service, adding “Pls stop it, otherwise it will go even higher!”

Iran's OPEC Governor Kazempour speaks to journalists at a news conference in Tehran.
Iran’s OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili speaks to journalists at a news conference Tehran March 7, 2005.Morteza Nikoubazl — Reuters

The message follows a tweet posted by Trump on Wednesday in which he blamed the “OPEC Monopoly” for rising gas prices.

“If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!” the tweet read.

In recent weeks, Trump has put pressure on Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations to increase oil production in order to offset any losses of Iranian and Venezuel and barrels, tweeting on June 30 that he had asked Saudi Arabia to increase barrel production by as much as 2,000,000.

The price of an oil barrel reached a multi-year high of over $78 on Wednesday, and retail gasoline prices rose to as much as $2.96 a gallon at the start of the summer driving season, according to the Energy Information Administration .