Iran Air has a requirement for "more than 100 aircraft" and the flag carrier is prioritising acquisitions of Airbus A320s and A321s, says chairman Farhad Parvaresh.
Though the airline is subject to international sanctions precluding it from leasing or purchasing Western-built aircraft, it continues to source new jets.
"Five years ago we didn't have any A320s. Now we have a fleet of six, and we plan to add to it," Parvaresh says, describing the A320 and A321 as a "good fleet for Iran" because of the country's size. The A330 and A340 are also potential targets for the overseas network.
"This is not a secret for us, or for Boeing or Airbus," adds Parvaresh. "We have said that we need more than 100 aircraft, and they know this. We don't see a good future with Boeing, but Iranian airlines have been Airbus operators for a long time."
Russian-built aircraft are of waning interest to the flag carrier following the February 2011 grounding of all Tupolev Tu-154s in the country.
"We used to have Tupolevs in Iran, but they are all gone based on the CAO [Civil Aviation Organisation] decision," says Parvaresh. "There are no more Tupolevs flying in Iran at all. Not even one."
Describing the Sukhoi Superjet 100 as "the only [Russian-made] possibility for the future", the chairman says initial discussions are already under way about the type. But he accepts that its high proportion of Western-made components will block Iran Air from dealing with the manufacturer.
Future Chinese models such as the Comac C919 are also of interest, he says, adding: "For sure if Iranian airlines are not able to expand their fleet with Boeing or Airbus, they will automatically buy from China. The future market is in China."
Iran Air's wholly owned fleet of 50 aircraft comprises 16 Fokker 100s, "about nine" Boeing 747s including four SPs, six Airbus A320-200s, "three or four" cargo aircraft, and an unspecified number of A310-300s, A300-600s and A300B2Ks.
The airline phased out its last 727 at the end of 2012, Parvaresh says. The next retirements "will be the 747SPs, one by one, and maybe the very old A300s", he adds.