Nothing riles the often fragile relationship between China and the US like a heated spat over sanctioned technology, and the latest clash over ZTE’s Iranian reexports is attracting fire from all sides.

ZTE, which makes smartphones and telecommunications equipment, allegedly breached US sanctions by selling US-made goods to Iran, according to a statement released on Monday by the US Department of Commerce.

Since then, Chinese officials have leapt to the aid of the local telecommunications equipment maker and smartphone vendor. A statement from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce website expressed their “resolute opposition” to the move, noting that the new license requirements would “severely” affect the operations of ZTE.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com