President Carter yesterday sharply condemned the Soviet Union for its military intervention in Afghanistan, calling it a "blatant violation of accepted international rules of behavior." He dispatched Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Europe for urgent consultation on the Soviet move with U.S. allies.
In a brief statement, the president also vowed that Iran "will continue to pay an increasingly higher price" for holding American hostages. He said Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance would go to the United Nations today to argue for economic sanctions against Iran and predicted the Security Council would support the U.S. position.
In Moscow, the Soviet Union acknowledged that its troops were helping the new regime in Kabul establish order and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sent a telegram of congratulations and warm wishes for "big successes" to the new Afghan leader, Babrek Karmel.
Communications were cut with Kabul, the Afghan capital, and its airports were closed yesterday. Reports reaching neighboring countries said the city was under a curfew enforced by Soviet soldiers who patrolled the streets with troops loyal to Karmel.
Carter's attack on the Soviets was echoed elsewhere in the West, and the Russian involvement was seen as a threatening move by at least three Islamic nations, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt.
British and West Germany issued tough statements, with London condemning "the Soviet Union's military intervention." Sweden and France also condemned the action and the Italian Communist Party, a persistent critic of the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, called the Soviet actions in Afghanistan "an inadmissible violation of the principles of independence and sovereignty."
Iran's Revolutionary Council turned temporarily from its confrontation with the United States over the fate of the 50 hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran to make a formal protest to Moscow about the coup, which toppled Hafizullah Amin, who was executed Thursday.
A note signed by Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh said Iran considered the intervention against "our coreligionists . . . a hostile measure, not only against the people of that country but against all the Moslems of the world." The chief of staff of the Iranian navy, Adm. Ahmed Madani, said Iran and Pakistan were consulting on the changes in Kabul.
In Tehran, efforts by the Revolutionary Council to persuade Iran's ruler, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to agree to the impaneling of an international tribunal that would lead to the release of the hostages appeared to have failed. A council spokesman said Khomeini had ruled out such a tribunal because its prospective members had demanded the prior release of the hostages.
The two crisis are having a continuing impact on the U.S. presidential campaign. President Carter yesterday withdrew from a planned debate with his Democratic opponents in the Iowa primary, saying he must "forego personal appearances . . . which are exclusively part of a partisan political campaign."