Minister Kang requested the United States for “maximum flexibility”. Thus, South Korea could minimize the damage from the renewed US sanctions against Iran.

The sanctions against Iranian crude oil exports will be imposed on Nov. 5. Donald Trump wants to oblige Tehran to accept a more restrictive agreement on curbing its nuclear and missile program.

South Korea is one of Asia’s major consumers of Iranian oil. The country has already suspended crude imports from Iran. Besides, nations’ building companies have offset energy-related treaties in Iran due to financing difficulties.

“Minister Kang requested the U.S. side exert maximum flexibility so that South Korea can secure an exemption to minimize the damage to our companies,” the ministry said.

That issue seems to be the latest sign of tensions between Seoul and Washington. Their primary concern touches upon the sanctions targeted at curbing North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

South Korea and Japan have been negotiating the adversive impact of the Iran sanctions with the United States. Both countries won waivers during the last round of sanctions in 2016. However, this time Washington has taken a more aggressive stand.

South Korea cut its purchases of Iranian oil in recent months due to costly Middle East grades and doubts on trade with Iran. Subsequently, in September imports of Iranian oil have decreased sharply for the first time since 2012.

Besides, South Korean companies suppose sanctions will make it challenging to receive and process payments in dollars for projects connected to Iran.

On Monday, Hyundai Engineering & Construction announced it scrapped a $521 million deal to construct a petrochemicals complex in Iran due to financing problems.

In June, Daelim Industrial’s 2.23 trillion contract to build a refinery project in Iran was canceled due to lack of financing.