The administration is "in the midst of an internal process" of considering exceptions called SRE waivers, or significant reduction exemptions, said a government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Reuters reported.
It was the first time a US official said the administration was in the process of considering waivers. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in India last month that the administration would consider waivers and that some buyers of Iranian oil would take a "little bit of time" to unwind their trade with Iran.
The US withdrew from a deal over Iran’s nuclear program in May and is unilaterally reimposing sanctions on Iran's crude oil consumers on Nov. 4. The sanctions aim to force Tehran to stop its involvement in conflicts in Syria and halt its ballistic missile program. The UN nuclear agency has more than 10 times confirmed Iran’s commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, which was struck with five other world powers, besides the United States.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that the administration's objective was that there be no waivers and "exports of Iranian oil and gas and condensates drop to zero." He added that the administration would not necessarily achieve that.
The administration is "prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis," the official said.
The comments followed news that India, Iran's No. 2 oil customer after China, will buy nine million barrels of Iranian oil in November. It was an indication that India will continue purchasing crude from Iran, despite the Trump administration's push to get countries to stop their purchases.