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US exempts 8 countries from Iran oil sanctions

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday his country exempted eight countries from oil sanction imposed on Iran.

The countries with exemptions are China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. Pompeo said all of the money from those nations' purchases of oil from Iran will be held in foreign accounts, and that the funds would only be available for humanitarian use, or for Iran to trade in non-sanctioned goods.

Washington has officially imposed what the Trump administration calls the "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran, meant to curb Tehran's nuclear and missile programs and contain its growing influence in the Middle East. 

"The Iranian regime has a choice," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as he detailed the sanctions on Monday. "It can either do a 180-degree turn from its current course of action, and act like a normal country, or it can see its economy crumble."