“There will be a handful of countries that come to the United States and ask for relief from that. We’ll consider it,” Pompeo said, according to the text of an interview in Abu Dhabi with Sky News Arabia released by the US State Department. He did not identify any countries.
Washington had earlier told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face US financial measures, with no exemptions.
Among Iran’s major oil clients, South Korea and Japan have sought waivers, but China, India and Turkey have indicated they may not heed US measures. Oil customers in Europe may also be seeking exemptions.
The US pulled out of a multinational deal in May to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program.
Efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers have led to a tighter oil market after a persistent glut.
The prospect of sanctions on oil exports from Iran, the world’s fifth-biggest oil producer, has helped push up oil prices in recent weeks with both crude contracts trading near 3 ½-year highs.
US crude inventories fell last week by 6.8 million barrels, according to data from industry group, the American Petroleum Institute.
That decline was larger than expected, causing crude futures to gain in post-settlement trading.
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.