Eight countries including Turkey have received a US waiver to continue importing Iranian oil.
“While we were asking (for) an exemption from the United States, we have also been very frank with them that cornering Iran is not wise. Isolating Iran is dangerous and punishing the Iranian people is not fair,” he said at a press conference during a trip to Japan.
“I think instead of sanctions, meaningful dialogue and engagement is much more useful.”
The latest round went into effect on Nov. 5.
Washington has granted eight countries, including Turkey and Japan, waivers to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil without facing diplomatic consequences.
On Nov. 5, Washington vowed to be “relentless” in countering Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the US wanted Iran to make a “180-degree turn” and abandon its “current revolutionary course”.
UN inspectors say Iran is abiding by an agreement reached with Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama to draw down its nuclear programme.
That deal was backed by European powers, Russia and China and sealed by a UN Security Council resolution.
Those other parties to the nuclear deal have vehemently opposed the US move and vowed to keep alive the accord, technically known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.