A ZTE smartphone Grand S is displayed during a news conference in Taipei October 12, 2013.  REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than a dozen U.S. Republican lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Obama administration to impose penalties on the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp for alleged violations of Iran export controls.

In a letter to three Cabinet secretaries, 14 House of Representatives Republicans led by Robert Pittenger of North Carolina said the Chinese technology giant has “blatantly worked to evade American sanctions and export control laws” to sell products to Iran that could be used to oppress dissidents.

ZTE officials were not immediately available for comment.

“We urge you to punish ZTE,” the lawmakers said in the letter that was addressed to the secretaries of Commerce, Treasury and State.

“We do not want to see the effectiveness of export control laws become compromised, especially export laws intended to address human rights violations and systematic oppression,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Republicans asked the Commerce Department to reimpose sanctions on ZTE Corp that U.S. officials temporarily suspended earlier this year.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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