The U.S. Department of Commerce is banning American companies from selling components to leading Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE for seven years. ZTE is a leading telecom equipment maker. It buys components from U.S. producers, such as Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Intel. And it sells smartphones in the U.S. to companies, like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Last year, ZTE pleaded guilty to conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping its products and technology to Iran. As part of the agreement, it promised to dismiss four senior employees and discipline 35 others. It did the former, but omitted the latter. As a penalty, the Commerce Department is now banning American companies from doing business with ZTE.