Iran would purchase 400 new aircraft were it not for sanctions, an official in Tehran told local news sources. Iran has been barred from buying Western aircraft since the 1970s because of its development of nuclear programmes, which Tehran says is for energy, not weaponry. “Iranian airlines will be ready to buy 40 passenger planes every year for 10 years if sanctions are lifted,” Ali Reza Jahangirian, head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation, told the Ettelaat newspaper. Iran's current fleet of aging aircraft is in dire need of service and replacement. Of its 250 aircraft, 150 are not flying due to a lack of components, it has been reported. The National Development Fund of Iran has reportedly put aside $500m for purchasing aircraft and the same amount for the purchase of spare parts. Western sanctions were recently relaxed to allow for aircraft repair in return for Iran putting a halt on nuclear activities for six months, starting last January. Under the agreement, GE will service 18 engines bought in the 1970s at its own facilities.