The United States plans to impose sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector on November 4.
Up until this week, the move to limit Iranian oil exports was seen as a bullish argument for crude oil prices. He didn't identify the remaining four countries.
The concessions have reportedly sparked outrage among USA officials who take a hardline attitude towards Iran, even causing White House National Security Advisor John Bolton to decline to participate in the sanctions rollout on November, 4.
Crude oil futures were trading in the $63.60 range Friday at 10:50 a.m. ET. USA light crude weakened by 30 cents to $63.39, down more than 13% since hitting four-year highs a month ago.
Previously, Pompeo has said "it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country or sanctions will be imposed", but also acknowledged that waivers were being negotiated with nations that say crude from the Middle East producer are critical to their energy industry. "India will cut import by about 35% from a year ago (2017-18), which is a significant cut", a source said.
The countries that will be receiving the waivers will be allowed to pay for the oil using escrow accounts in their local currency, which will help the U.S. to regulate the revenues that Iran receives and only allow them to be used to buy food, medicines and other non-sanctioned goods from its customers.
The Iranian government has also devised all necessary preparations in different sectors to counter the USA excessive demands, Qassemi added. The Trump administration has asked that those nations also cut other economic ties with the Persian Gulf state, such as by reducing trade in goods that aren't covered by the sanctions, the official said.
The Trump administration on Friday announced the restoration of the final round of sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the controversial 2015 Iran nuclear deal - though there will be some exemptions for eight countries. These sanctions are a pressure tactic to constrain Iran's nuclear programme.
USA light crude was 25 cents lower at $63.44, down more than 13 percent since hitting four-year highs a month ago.
In the first three weeks of October, Iran's crude and condensate exports averaged around 1.90-1.95 million bpd according to Platts ship tracking data, but exports could be even higher due to the Iranian tactic to switch off tracking devices to hide some volumes and destinations of its oil exports, sources say. To gain the waiver, it likely agreed to a larger cut of imports from previous levels.
"They're gutting President Trump's maximum pressure campaign", one senior congressional staffer briefed by administration officials on Iran and SWIFT said.
That's significantly lower than the peak of 2.7 million bpd in June this year, but still stubbornly high compared to some analyst estimates that the predicted sanctions could possibly choke off close to 2 million bpd of Iran's oil exports.