The Trump administration announced on Friday it is exempting eight countries from bruising sanctions that the United States is reimposing against Iran, undercutting its economic punishment for what officials called Tehran’s destabilizing activity in the Middle East. The announcement came on the eve of a long-announced Nov. 5 deadline for nations to cease importing Iranian goods or face financial penalties. It highlighted the Trump administration’s hard-nosed foreign policy that is popular with Republicans, days before crucial midterm elections. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, did not identify the eight countries that were being granted six-month waivers but said they include two that are expected to end their imports of Iranian oil “within weeks.” The nations will have to reapply for extended exemptions at the end of six months. He also said the list of waivers is far smaller than the 20 nations that were exempted from […]