China - the leading importer of Iranian crude - is still in discussions with the U.S. on terms, but is among the eight countries permitted to keep buying Iranian oil, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
Pompeo said that countries like India, if it gets the exemption, would be asked to bring down their oil imports from Iran to zero in six months' time.
Pompeo said that the countries receiving waivers had agreed that payments for the oil will be sent to special bank accounts that Iran will only be able to access if it is using the funds for "humanitarian trade, or bilateral trade in non-sanctioned goods and services".
"The sanctions that will be reimposed tomorrow are the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran", Pompeo said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday". Pompeo said they are created to "alter the Iranian regime's behavior", especially its support of terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
The United States will also add 700 individuals and entities to its Iran blacklist and pressure the global SWIFT banking network to cut off Tehran when the sanctions are put back in place next week, USA officials said.
Iranian protesters hold placards mocking US President Donald Trump, Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman outside the former US embassy in Tehran on Nov 4, 2018.
"We would lose foreign currency revenue had we'd been hit by the sanctions". "But America's plots and its plans for sanctions will be defeated through continued resistance", said Jafari. "We have advised SWIFT that it must disconnect any Iranian financial institutions that we designate as soon as technologically feasible to avoid sanctions exposure".
Some Iran hawks in Congress and elsewhere said Friday's move should have gone even further.
Iran exported the equivalent of 2.5 million barrels a day in April, before the announcement of sanctions turned buyers away.
Part of the explanation lies in the ambiguous position of the USA, which initially insisted that the sanctions were created to reduce Iranian exports to zero barrels, but has since has softened its position.
But the United States has rebuffed them and gone ahead with its sanctions plan, arguing that nations, banks and businesses worldwide will decide they'd rather do business with the USA than Iran.
Iran's top leader was earlier reported as saying that US President Donald Trump's policies face opposition across the world as Washington prepared to reimpose sanctions on Iran's vital oil-exporting and financial sectors.
The agreement saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
"While the European Union has sought to create a unique financing mechanism to access the Iranian market, the private sector has taken the lead by staying away due to it wanting to access the United States market", he said.
In your opinion why has Washington made a decision to backtrack on its threats to halt Iranian oil exports completely and halt its accesses to the global SWIFT system?