ZTE Corp is facing possible sanctions from the US Commerce Department for violating export controls on Iran. The company had allegedly shipped US based technology to Iran using several shell companies. An act that could see several restrictions placed on its ability to export goods from US owned companies.
The Commerce Department initiated investigations into ZTE’s activities back in 2012, following reports that the company had contracts to ship millions of dollars worth of software and hardware to Iran’s largest telecommunications company. ZTE stands accused of using shell companies to mask its activities, and documents labelled “top secret” were supposedly distribution among the upper management.
Export restrictions placed on ZTE would limit its ability to ship parts out of the US. It is unknown if these restrictions would affect ZTE’s operations, but the company claims that it has many American suppliers and will have problems dealing with them as a result of the decision.
ZTE was apparently aware of the risks when it decided to pursue the course of action. Investigators reviewed documents that outlined the potential backlash from the project being discovered.
Iran has been undersevere sanctions from the US and its allies, a situation that worsened when the country stood accused of attempting to build weapons of mass destruction. That being said, US-Iran relations have improved during the Obama administration – with some of the more severe sanctions lifted on the middle eastern country. Which means that ZTE would probably have gotten away with the deals if it had waited a couple of years.