Tehran taunts Trump, telling him his tweets drive up oil prices

By Mohammed Aly Sergie on 7/5/2018

DUBAI (Bloomberg) -- The Islamic Republic’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said tweets by Iran’s nemesis in the White House are backfiring, by sending prices higher, and undermining U.S. allies.

“Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10/bbl,” Kazempour said in a message carried by Iranian Oil Ministry’s Shana news service, spicing the analysis with: “Pls stop it, otherwise it will go even higher!”

Trump tweeted Wednesday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is “doing little to help” reduce U.S. gasoline costs and “if anything, they are driving prices higher.” While Saudi Arabia and its allies are boosting output, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. warned that supply risks from Venezuela to Iran are likely to send prices higher.

“You are hammering on good guys in OPEC,” Kazempour said. “You are actually discrediting them and undermining their sovereignty, we expect you to be more polite.”

The clash over OPEC policy and the resumption of U.S. sanctions on Iran have been amplified this week as Trump continues to target the group which he blames for rising prices. His latest was a reminder that the U.S. defends many OPEC members for “very little” money. “This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

Iran’s deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that any attempt to thwart its oil exports will result in the closure of Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, where the world’s biggest concentration of tankers carry about 30% of all seaborne-traded crude oil and other liquids during the year.

Oil is trading near $78/bbl, holding most of a rally that saw prices rise to the highest level in more than three years after OPEC’s output increase plan was overshadowed by supply disruptions in Libya, Canada and Venezuela. While OPEC is facing mounting pressure from Trump to do more, America’s sanctions on group members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainties, just as U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods kick in on Friday.

“OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years,” Kazempour said. “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!”

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