TEHRAN (Press Shia) – South Korea asked the US for "maximum flexibility" on its request for a waiver to prevent South Korean companies from being affected by renewed US sanctions against Iran, the East Asian country’s foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha asked for the exemption in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

"Minister Kang requested the US side exert maximum flexibility so that South Korea can secure an exemption to minimize the damage to our companies," the ministry said, according to NBC News.

Pompeo said he noted Seoul's position and would continue discussions on the matter, the ministry said.

South Korea, a US ally and one of Asia's biggest buyers of Iranian oil, has already stopped crude imports from Iran. South Korean building firms have also canceled energy-related contracts in Iran due to financing difficulties.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Trump on August 6 signed an executive order re-imposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

The second batch of US sanctions is slated to take effect on November 4.