EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made the remarks on Friday after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers that addressed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is officially known, among other things.
"We want to save this deal if it's possible," he said, warning that negotiating a new pact would be a "very complex, highly technical process" that would take a long time, AFP reported.
The meeting also backed away from discussing the dispute mechanism, and, according to Reuters, the foreign ministers “agreed to step up their diplomacy to defuse tensions.”
Borrell, however, did not rule out that the mechanism could be invoked, and warned that the agreement may eventually be "cancelled."
"Maybe we cannot avoid that the JCPOA finally is being cancelled because the dispute mechanism can be triggered and I cannot exclude that this happens," he said.
The deal, which Iran signed with the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany, lifted nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic in return for its voluntarily changing some aspects of its nuclear energy program. The deal was later ratified in the form of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
But the US withdrew from the accord in 2018 and reimposed the sanctions last May, and Britain, France, and Germany refused to protect Tehran’s business interests under the deal after Washington's withdrawal.
This May, Iran began to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA to both retaliate for Washington’s departure, and trigger the European trio to respect their obligations towards Tehran.