The White House is moving to defend U.S. President Donald Trump's deal allowing the Chinese telecom giant ZTE to stay in business despite violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea. 

Critics of the deal included language to block it in a major defense bill pending in the U.S. Senate, but a Trump ally in Congress late on June 13 asked that it be stripped from the bill. 

The deal lets ZTE continue purchasing parts for its cell phones and other equipment from U.S. suppliers -- which the company has said it must do if it is to stay in business -- as along as it pays another $1 billion in fines for its sanctions violations and replaces its top managers. 

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley pointed to the "massive penalties" imposed on ZTE and said they were part of what he described as "an historic enforcement action" under the U.S. sanctions laws targeting Iran and North Korea. 

The deal, Gidley said, "will ensure ZTE pays for its violations and gives our government complete oversight of their future activity without undue harm to American suppliers and their workers." 

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