The document was provided to The Times by someone familiar with its writing to show the scope of the projects currently under consideration.
Zarif said the agreement would be submitted to parliament for final approval. He has the backing of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said two Iranian officials.
Khamenei’s chief economic adviser, Ali Agha Mohammadi, recently appeared on public television to discuss the need for an economic lifeline. He said Iran must increase its oil production to at least 8.5 million barrels a day in order to remain a player in the energy market, and for that it needs China.
Iranian supporters of the strategic partnership say that given the country’s limited economic options, the currency’s free fall and the slim prospect of lifting US sanctions, the deal with China could provide a lifeline.
“All roads are closed to Iran,” said Fereydoun Majlesi, a former diplomat and columnist for several Iranian diplomacy newspapers. “The only way open is China. In any case, until the sanctions are lifted, this agreement is the best option. “
But critics across the political spectrum in Iran have expressed concern that the government is secretly “selling” the country to China in a time of economic weakness and international isolation. In a speech at the end of June, a former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called it a suspicious secret deal that the Iranian people would never approve of.
Critics cited earlier Chinese investment projects that left African and Asian countries in debt and beholden to the Beijing authorities. Of particular concern are the proposed port facilities in Iran, including two along the coast of the Arabian Sea.