Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday.

Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers, representative Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic's ministry of petroleum Web site.

The move appeared to be in retaliation for a decision by the European Union in January to stop importing crude from Iran beginning July 1 over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.

Iran's oil minister said on Feb. 4 that Iran would cut its oil exports to some European countries.

We have our own customers ... The replacements for these companies have been considered by Iran, Nikzad said.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by David Cowell)