By Parisa Hafezi ANKARA Thu May 1, 2014 (Reuters) - Barred by sanctions from buying Western airliners since the 1970s, Iran has pent-up demand for 400 new planes, Tehran's top aviation official was reported as saying, offering potential billions to manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing.
Iran won limited relief from Western sanctions after agreeing to curtail its nuclear activities for six months under an interim accord with world powers which took effect in January.
A complete lifting of sanctions would require a comprehensive deal to end a decade-long stand-off over what Tehran maintains is a nuclear program for peaceful energy purposes.
"Iranian airlines will be ready to buy 40 passenger planes every year for 10 years if sanctions are lifted," said Ali Reza Jahangirian, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation, the Ettelaat newspaper reported on Thursday.
The 400 figure confirmed the top end of a range reported by Reuters in November citing a senior Iranian official.
Boeing and Airbus, which took orders for more than 2,800 aircraft from airlines and lessors in 2013, would likely lead the battle for Iran's business.