White House press secretary Jody Powell said Wednesday the United States gave oral, not written, assurances to the former Shah of Iran about his family and his medical treatment before he left the United States for Panama last December.But Mr. Powell denied accusations that the administration did not live up to its part of the bargain.
"Basically, as you know, we said at the time we had made it clear we were prepared to offer assistance, including his possible return to the United States for medical treatment," he said.
National security affairs adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said Tuesday that now that the Shah has moved to Egypt, the United States no longer feels it has "commitments and obligations" to him. He added that he didn't feel the Shah's move to Egypt would affect the fate of the embassy hostages.
However, Ayatollah Muhammad Beheshti, secretary of Iran's ruling Revolutionary Council, expressed support Wednesday for putting the hostages on trial if the deposed Shah and his wealth were not returned to Iran.
Meanwhile, noted surgeon Michael DeBakey and six colleagues were en route from Houston to Cairo to operate on the Shah.