Turning the screw on Tehran.
The U.S. says there will be no extension to the current sanctions waiver on Iranian crude oil.
"We're going to zero, going to zero across the board. We will continue enforce sanctions and monitor compliance. Any nation or entity interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of caution."
The U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May last year, with President Trump saying the agreement "had not stopped Iran from developing its nuclear and missile programs."
However, eight countries, including South Korea and Japan, were given exemptions from Washington's sanctions on Iran last November.
The 180-day grace period comes to an end on May 2nd, and despite the countries' efforts, the State Department said on Monday that President Trump had made the decision to deny Tehran its principal source of revenue.
During his press briefing Monday, Pompeo also touched upon concerns of potential market instability.
"We've been working with major oil producing countries to ensure the market has sufficient volume to minimize the impact on pricing. Both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have assured us they will ensure an appropriate supply for the markets. And of course the United States is now a significant producer as well."
Pompeo reiterated that maximum pressure will continue until Iran "ends its pursuit of nuclear weapons, stops developing ballistic missiles and sponsoring terrorism as well as halt the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens."
While South Korea had already cut its Iranian crude oil imports to zero, it relies heavily on condensate, or ultralight oil, which is technically not the main target of U.S. sanctions.
The news is likely to take a serious toll on many of South Korea's small and medium enterprises in the industry.
South Korea's foreign affairs ministry says it has been in talks with Washington on various levels for an extension, and it will continue to relay its stance to the U.S. right until the deadline.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.