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The waivers "look likely but not yet formally decided", a government official told The Hindu, indicating that the final word rests with U.S. President Donald Trump who must sign them before November 4.

Iran said it does not fear the impending USA sanctions that are set to go into effect next week.

Separately, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday 280,000 barrels of oil had been sold on Iran's energy bourse and an additional 720,000 barrels would be offered for sale again on the exchange, according to Oil Ministry news site SHANA.

A senior USA administration official said on Friday that Washington has agreed to allow eight countries to continue purchasing Iran's crude oil.

The waivers are being granted for continued import cuts, so that oil prices do not shoot up, the official added.

India, which is Iran's second-largest customer for oil, has said it can not immediately replace its Iranian imports and is seeking a waiver, while Turkey has also sought an exemption from the U.S. Treasury Department.

It was unclear how much crude those eight countries would be allowed to buy from Iran, whose oil exports have plummeted from an average of more than 2.5 million barrels per day to around 1.5 million bpd in recent weeks.

Iran's biggest oil customers - all in Asia - have been seeking sanctions waivers to allow them to still buy some of its oil.

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"We ask that it to modify its behaviour, and the Secretary (of State) has been clear frequently on what we expect from the regime and human rights are certainly an important aspect of that", he said.

Despite the surge in output, concerns lingered as Washington is set to impose its sanctions against Iran's petroleum exports from next week.

"Maximum pressure means maximum pressure", he said.

In a presidential memorandum addressed to secretaries of State, Treasury and Energy, Trump said he determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products elsewhere than Iran to permit a reduction in purchases from the Islamic Republic.

"They know the President's words, which are that if you choose to do business with Iran, that is your choice, but if you do you won't do business with America as well".

But he added: "In the past few months our people have faced hard times and it's possible that the next few months will be hard". Saudi Arabia could make up the difference; while the kingdom has threatened to use oil in retaliation for global punishment over its killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it also is eager to squeeze Iran, its regional rival.

Currently, India pays its third largest oil supplier in euros using European banking channels. However, Essar-Nyara, sources said, has been buying some Iranian oil on the spot market.