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Iran says sanctions are not affecting its oil production as OPEC meets on output targets

Iran's Minister of Petroleum Rostam Ghasemi talks to journalists as he arrives at a hotel for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, conference in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, May 30, 2012. Once the symbol of oil dominance, OPEC faces new challenges as its members gather for a ministerial meeting on how much crude to pump. For the 12 oil ministers from countries ranging from Venezuela to Nigeria and Iran, the formal focus of Friday's get-together is to determine production levels. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)

Iran's Minister of Petroleum Rostam Ghasemi talks to journalists as he arrives at a hotel for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, conference in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, May 30, 2012. Once the symbol of oil dominance, OPEC faces new challenges as its members gather for a ministerial meeting on how much crude to pump. For the 12 oil ministers from countries ranging from Venezuela to Nigeria and Iran, the formal focus of Friday's get-together is to determine production levels. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)  (The Associated Press)

Iran says its oil exports are down by 20 percent but asserts it is still producing the same amount of crude — and finding markets for it as gasoline and other products — despite international sanctions.

Iranian oil minister Rostam Ghasemi spoke Friday as he and other OPEC ministers went into a meeting expected to keep the 12-nation cartel's output target at 30 million barrels a day.

The U.S-led embargo on oil and other punitive measures were imposed in an attempt to force Iran to curb its nuclear program. Production is now an estimated 2.5 million barrels a day — about 1.5 million barrels less than before the sanctions.

But Ghasemi told reporters that "production has not changed." He said that Iran, which used to import gasoline, now exports it.