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The U.S. government is lobbying Iranian oil importers, including China and India, and "asking them to go to zero, absolutely yes", according to a U.S.

The reduction came a day after Trump took aim at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, urging the cartel to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

On Wednesday he tweeted that OPEC is "doing little to help, " adding that, "if anything, they are driving prices higher".

He's not totally oblivious to the fact that pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal served to embed still more geopolitical risk premium in crude prices.

OPEC and partners agreed on June 23 to increase oil production, with the Saudi and Russian energy ministers saying it would add about 1 million barrels a day to the market.

OPEC and Russian Federation announced in June they were willing to raise output to address concerns of emerging supply shortages due to unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya, and likely also to replace a potential fall in Iranian supplies due to United States sanctions.

Trump's abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal may have consequences for oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 20 cents to settle at US$74.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising to as high as US$75.27. In late morning trading, the price of the worldwide benchmark Brent grade of crude oil was little changed at $77.85 a barrel.

Kazempour said Trump was trying to intensify tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That may reduce the pressure on Saudi Arabia to keep oil prices high, said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in NY.

Saudi Arabia now produces about 10 million barrels of oil per day. The Saudis have increased oil production, following an OPEC meeting last month, but it hasn't been enough to overcome the effects of reduced supplies from other producers.

Yesterday, the deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards in Tehran warned that any attempt to undermine Iran's oil exports will lead to the closing of the Strait of Hormuz-a narrow waterway vital to oil distribution in the Persian Gulf region.

USA light crude jumped $1.17 to US$75.11 a barrel, its highest since November 2014.

Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, claimed Thursday that Trump's tweets were putting upward pressure on prices. But the tougher USA approach now makes the bank's analysts think that Iran's exports to Europe, Japan, and South Korea-a total of 1 million bpd-would "fall to minimal levels".


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