GREENBELT, Maryland — A US man convicted of illegally helping Iran launch its first satellite has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Fifty-three-year-old Nader Modanlo was sentenced Friday by a federal judge. His attorney had recommended he spend less than 27 months in prison, while prosecutors were asking for approximately 16 to 20 years.

A jury found Modanlo guilty of violating a US trade embargo against Iran by brokering a deal to help the country launch an Earth-observation satellite from Russia in 2005.

The launch of the Sina-1 satellite marked the practical beginning of Iran’s space program after decades of aspirations. Prosecutors said Modanlo was paid $10 million for his assistance.

The judge ordered Modanlo to forfeit $10 million.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.