Iranian President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr said today that Iran would "resist" new U.S. sanctions and accused President Carter of complicating the hostage crisis by inciting "more hate" here against the United States.
Iranian leaders generally shrugged off the second round of U.S. sanctions, displaying greater concern over a potential crisis on the country's university campuses and resistance to Army deployment in the troubled Kurdish area.
More worrisome for the Iranian leadership than the U.S. sanctions is the prospect that Washington's Western allies would adopt similar measures against Iran to bring pressure for the release of the 50 American hostages who have been held by militant Moslem students at the U.S. Embassy for the past 5 1/2 months.
Iranians now appear to be taking the prospect of sanctions by Washington's allies seriously and gone is the self-congratulatory air that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers adopted when the United States cut diplomatic relations and declared economic sanctions April 7.
After meeting today with Khomeini and members of the ruling Revolutionary Council, Bani-Sadr told the official Pars news agency, "whatever he (president Carter) wants to do and can do, he will do. That's clear to us. We must prepare ourselves to resist."
Later, in an interview with ABC News, the Iranian president said he had told Carter several times through the Swiss ambassador to Iran that "threatening" measures would be counterproductive.
"These threats will do him no good," Bani-Sadr said of Carter. "I don't think a wise person would do this sort of thing."
Bani-Sadr added: "There are two considerations. First, maybe he cares for the 50 hostages, which I doubt. Economic blockade and military attack will make saving them more difficult, not easier. Second consideration: He wants to disturb our revolution, but that also is impossible. He cannot do that. The only result of these actions will be more hate, which will remain and increase against the United States. But if it has some benefit for him for his reelection, that's another matter. I don't know about that."
The subject of the U.S. sanctions was only briefly touched upon in speeches by leading Moslem clergymen at the weekly mass prayers at Tehran University when Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, Iran's stern "firing squad judge," declared, "We don't have to worry about spare parts; Allah will provide spare parts."
Contributing to Iranian leaders' mounting anxiety that the United State's Western partners were moving toward participation in political and economic sanctions was a statement issued today by the British ambassador, Sir John Graham, after his return from three days of consultations in London.
"The situation is potentially very grave," Graham warned. "Both as a friend and ally of the United States and as a firm supporter of international law, the British government, while wishing Iran and the Iranian people well, is nevertheless bound to do all it can to help to try to bring the crisis to an end through the early safe release of all those detained in the American Embassy."
There was speculation today that Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh would fly to Paris in a bid to discourage European participation in sanctions.
Before Ghotbzadeh's departure, the French Embassy said it was not involved in organizing such a trip and did not expect it to produce any results.
Meanwhile, speakers at the weekly prayers devoted most of their attention to a crisis that appears to be developing on university campuses following the occupation of several colleges in Tehran and the northwestern city of Tabriz by militant Moslem students allied with the embassy captors.
The Revolutionary Council, apparently trying to seize the opportunity to crack down on leftist groups at the universities, today announced that all political groups on campuses must stop their activities and close their offices by Monday night.
The council warned that if the groups do not leave campus, they will be forcibly removed.
The strongest leftist group on university campuses, the Islamic-Muaheddin-e-Khalq, protested the order, which was approved by Khomeini following the wave of university occupations by his supporters.
Moslem students in Tabriz began the campaign last week when they took over Tabriz University after a leading Moslem clergyman and Revolutionary Council member was heckled by leftists during a speech. The Moslem students demanded that all of Iran's universities be closed for two months and leftist groups, notably the Mujaheddin, the Marxist Fedayan and the Maoist Payhar organizations, be purged.
In Tehran, Moslems describing themselves as "Students following the line of the Imam [Khomeini]," took over seven colleges to press the same demands. In backing them, the Revolutionary Council decreed that the current academic year, would end June 5, a month earlier than scheduled, "to have enough time to prepare for a new Islamic education system."
In the western Kurdish region, heavy fighting between government forces and rebellious Kurds was reported at the town of Saqqez as the Iranian Army tried to deploy along the border with neighboring Iraq.
Kurdish sources said the Iranian troops tried to seize strategic buildings in Saqqez from Kurdish guerrillas and had bombed the outskirts of the town with helicopters and F4 phantom jets.
Some Kurdish guerrillas have charged that the Iranian government is using its dispute with Iraq as a pretext for spreading its authority in the troubled Kurdish region.