Pompeo was vague about whether the goal of the increased pressure from zeroing out Iran oil imports was to get Iran to the table to try to negotiate a broader deal that would address issues the Trump administration said were not solved by the JCPOA.
Announcing the crackdown on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The goal remains simply: To deprive the outlaw regime of the funds that it has used to destabilize the Middle East for decades and incentivise Iran to behave like a normal country".
They were granted in part to give those countries time to eliminate their purchases of Iranian oil but also to ease any impact on global energy markets with the abrupt removal of Iran's production. The latter three have already wound down their imports but between them the others continue to buy a million barrels of oil a day from Iran.
But the other five continue to import Iranian oil and had lobbied for their waivers to be extended.
The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from USA sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran.
"As of May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is now importing Iranian crude or condensate", the Washington Post's Josh Rogin reported on Sunday.
Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Monday that it opposed unilateral US sanctions against Iran and that China's bilateral cooperation with Iran was in accordance with the law. "With this decision, Iran's economy will be under severe pressure as its hard currency earnings dry up and its foreign exchange reserves plummet".
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing in Washington D.C., the United States, April 22, 2019.
China, one of Iran's largest customers, slammed the step, calling it more evidence of U.S.
Oil exports are a key source of revenue for Tehran, which has been hit hard by the reimposition of US sanctions.
Those arguments fell on deaf ears within the administration.
"We're going to zero", Pompeo said.
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But the decision to let the sanctions expire caught the oil market off guard.
"Regarding the illegal status of the sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran basically has not seen and does not see any worth and validity for the waivers", the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.
The US has announced it will no longer exempt countries from sanctions that aim to impose a complete oil embargo on Iran.
"In case of any threat, we will have not even an iota of doubt to protect and defend the Iranian waters", Tangsiri added.
In addition to China and India, the economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece had also been granted waivers.
The official did not say whether Iraq had already discussed the increase with OPEC or with the United States. Both said questions about such provisions were "hypothetical", suggesting that some accommodation may be possible.
If crude prices rise much beyond the current levels, she says, Donald Trump will likely lean on Saudi Arabia and OPEC to put more oil into the market.
Brent crude, used to price global oils, jumped $1.84, or 2.6% to $73.80.
"It is a surprise that the requirement to cease importing Iranian oil should come at this next May deadline, ' said Elizabeth Rosenberg, director of the energy, economics and security program at Washington-based Center for a New American Security". "China's cooperation with Iran is open, transparent, reasonable and legitimate, and should be respected", Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in response to news that the USA planned on letting waivers expire.
"In the next few weeks, the Kingdom will be consulting closely with other producing countries and key oil consuming nations to ensure a well-balanced and stable oil market, for the benefits of producers and consumers as well as the stability", Al-Falih said in a statement sent to journalists by the Saudi Embassy today.
There were swift reactions in the region to the Trump administration's decision with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the move "is of great importance for increasing pressure on the Iranian terrorist regime".