European leaders are scrambling to save the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which Tehran on Tuesday said will continue to be breached unless it gets protection from American economic sanctions.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, “Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear bomb”.

He further said that “the parties to the deal would meet to discuss next steps”.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said, “Iran’s retaliatory decision to reduce some of its commitments under the nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is within the framework of the accord, which says if one side fails to deliver its commitments, the right is reserved for the other party to reconsider its obligations”.

He further said, “If the Europeans and the United States do not fulfil their commitments, we will balance out their actions under the deal by reducing commitments and taking the conditions back to how they were four years ago”.

Kamalvandi said that Iran’s uranium stockpile has surpassed 300 kg, the limit set by the deal, and Tehran is no longer obliged to export the surplus heavy water as it was required under the deal.

Besides, “currently, we have gone beyond 3.67 per cent (uranium) enrichment purity and are also producing the enriched material required for nuclear plant fuel with 4.5-per cent purity,” he added.

Iran and six world major powers sealed the landmark deal to end the controversies over the former’s nuclear program in 2015. Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb major parts of its sensitive nuclear program in return for the lift of the UN as well as the western sanctions.

Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had breached the deal’s cap on stockpiling of low-enriched uranium, the BBC reported.

Tensions between the UK and Iran flared up earlier this month when Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker which was suspected of breaking EU sanctions.

In response to the seizure, Iran threatened to seize a British oil tanker.