Ali Akbar Salehi

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that the West should ease some of its sanctions against Iran in advance of the next round of nuclear talks in Baghdad in May.

Salehi told ISNA on Monday: “The West should move toward building confidence leading up to the Baghdad negotiations and take steps to ease sanctions.”

He added: “In Istanbul, both sides agreed to spend the time in advance of the next meeting laying out a step-by-step roadmap that both sides can agree upon, and for every step we take, they will also take a step.”

The United States announced on Monday that it will maintain the sanction on Iran until the next talks.

U.S. Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton told reporters in Brasilia: “I believe in action for action but I think in this case the burden of action falls on the Iranians to demonstrate their seriousness, and we are going to keep the sanctions in place and the pressure on Iran as they consider … what they’ll bring to the table in Baghdad, and we’ll respond accordingly.”

The two sides met in Istanbul on April 14. Both sides described the talks as positive and constructive and announced that they will hold the next round in Baghdad on May 24.

The U.S. has also announced that, far from easing sanctions, it will in fact ratchet them up this summer.

The U.S. and the EU have now imposed sanctions on Iran’s financial institutions as well as its oil exports.

The West suspects that Iran’s nuclear program may include a nuclear component. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are all peaceful and it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.