The Islamic Republic says it has retaliated against the EU sanctions targeting its energy and financial sectors by stopping oil exports to six European countries: Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

The State News Agency Press TV announced today that these countries will no longer be able to purchase Iranian crude.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghassemi had announced earlier that Iran would immediately cut off crude sales to a number of European countries, with another decision regarding other European countries set for later. He had called on the EU to reconsider its Iranian oil embargo.

He was quoted as saying: “European people will have to pay the costs of sanctions on Iranian oil sales to Europe; Iran will find other customers for its oil.”

The EU laid sanctions against Iranian oil in January, saying its member countries will no longer purchase oil from Iran by July 2012.

The sanctions were announced as a response to possible military objectives in Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran denies such allegations and says its nuclear program is peaceful.

The decision to lay sanctions against Iranian oil was first opposed by Italy, Spain and Greece, which rely on Iranian oil and are also facing economic hardships.