Another 17 Iranian officials have been put on the EU blacklist for committing “human rights violations” and will not be permitted to travel to EU countries, and any assets they have in European financial institutions will be confiscated.

The Associated Press reports that the European Union announced this decision on March 23, and the sanctions will be valid until April 2013.

There are 61 Iranian officials who were already under EU sanctions, so this latest addition bring the total to 78.

The names of the new additions to the list have not been announced yet, but the sanctions against the 61 officials originally targeted have been renewed for another year.

The EU’s head of foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, expressed grave concern over the situation of human rights in Iran.

She added that she is concerned about the treatment of Iranian citizens and journalists as well as the rise in executions across Iran, adding that the sanctions will continue until the targeted officials honour their international commitments and the basic rights of the people.

International organizations have accused Islamic Republic authorities of violating human rights for their treatment of dissidents and for the severe punishments meted out by the Iranian judiciary.

Iranian authorities reject the accusations and maintain that human rights are being used as a pretext to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs.