The Trump administration will enact a zero tolerance policy with regard to exports of Iranian crude oil, a senior State Department official told reporters on Tuesday, stressing that the USA plans to pressure all buyers to completely cut any imports or face sanctions.
The State Department said it does not plan to offer waivers or allow countries to wind down imports from Iran.
United States crude oil prices shot above $70 (£53) for the first time since May, rising by 3.91% to $70.74 a barrel.
The official said a USA delegation was headed to the Middle East next week to urge Gulf producers to ensure global oil supplies as Iran is cut out of the market starting on November 4 when US sanctions are reimposed.
Some close US allies are among the largest imports of Iranian crude oil, including India and South Korea.
"The predisposition would be no, we're not granting waivers", the official said.
China, which remained in the Iran deal after the US withdrawal, was the largest importer of Iranian oil in 2017.
Oil analysts said there are concerns that OPEC producers will not be able to fully supply the market after Iranian oil is cut from the market.
The US has said firms that continue to do business with Iran risk punishment once sanctions are reintroduced. The biggest importer of Iranian oil past year was China, which has remained a party to the Iran nuclear deal despite the USA withdrawal. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the report.
"There is a level of frustration that people have with regard to the regime activity and behavior, the enrichment of the military and clerical elite and the squeezing out of the life of the economy", the senior State Department official said.
Washington has sought to emphasize that the protests are part of rising economic discontent in Iran hoping it will force the government to negotiate a new nuclear deal to avoid sanctions.
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