China and Singapore have been included in the list of countries granted waivers from US sanctions linked to trading with Iran, Washington citing both countries’ “significant reductions” in Iranian oil imports, AFP reports. The decision was made on the final day before sanctions take effect.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton lauded major economies for demonstrating a united stand against Tehran. The US exempted a total of 20 countries, excluding smaller-scale importers such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. The world’s “cumulative actions are a clear demonstration to Iran’s government that Iran’s continued violation of its international nuclear obligations carries an enormous economic cost,” Clinton said.

Under the sanctions, banks from countries who have not met the qualified amount of reductions will be barred from the US financial market. Expected to take effect on July 1, the sanctions will implement insurance bans for oil tankers carrying Iranian oil. Sanctions from the West aim to cut Iran’s oil revenues and pressure Tehran to halt its nuclear program.

Several countries raised concerns ahead of the sanctions. Major consumers from Asia were scrambling to found a way to step around the oil embargo, including providing their own insurance for ships and looking for alternative sources in the Middle east.