Eight countries exempt from Iran oil sanctions: US secretary of state Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Washington, DC, USA Nov 02, 2018, 08.40 PM (IST)

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said today that eight countries would be exempt from Iran oil sanctions set to kick-in next week.

The US secretary of state said the import of oil will be allowed at a much lower level than currently being done.

Bloomberg had earlier said that South Korea, India and Japan were among the countries to be allowed the waiver, although Pompeo did not confirm it. The announcement will be made on Monday.

Pompeo said that the European Union as a whole, which has 28 members, would not receive a waiver.

Pompeo said the reimposition of sanctions "is aimed at depriving the regime of the revenues it uses to spread death and destruction around the world."

"Our ultimate aim is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country," Pompeo added.

South Korea had earlier asked Pompeo for "maximum flexibility" for the Iran oil waiver while Turkey and China have consistently resisted calls by the Trump administration to cut back on Iran oil.

Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin also said US wants Brussels-based SWIFT to cut off Iranian financial institutions from Monday. Under US law, Washington can sanction the financial institutions of foreign countries that fail to significantly reduce their purchases of Iranian oil and petroleum products.

National security adviser John Bolton had said earlier that the US does not want to harm "friends and allies" that depend on Iran oil.

The US accused Iran of diverting money in conflict zones in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East and also of running a covert nuclear and missile program which is vehemently denied by the Rohani government

The US government sanctions are set to come into effect on November 5th.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned Iranians they face hard times when new US sanctions take effect.