Physicians attending the exiled shah of Iran will evaluate his reaction to radiation treatments in about a week and may decide then if he is well enough to leave the United States and continue his convalescence elsewhere, the shah's spokesman, Robert Armao, said today.
But tonight, Drs. Hibbard Williams and Benjamin Kean said in a statement that it would be "approximately two weeks" before the radiation treatments are concluded.
Armao said the timing of the shah's departure depends entirely on the success of the radiation treatments for cancer and a semisurgical procedure planned to remove a stone stuck in his bile duct.
He reminded reporters that the U.S. government has not asked the shah to leave the country since the Nov. 4 seizure of the U.S Embassy in Tehran by students demanding that the shah be returned to Iran.
The shah, in a statement read by Armao, said it would be "inappropriate and insensitive" of him to speak out about the plight of the 62 Americans held hostage in Tehran.
"My continued silence is my statement, I continue to pray for the safe return of the hostages," the shah said.
Armao denied that he has muzzled doctors and administrators at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where the shah has been since he was flown here secretly from Mexico Oct. 23.
The shah's doctors have held only one press conference, and in the absence of regular reports from them, rumors have circulated decribing the shah's condition as everything from "grave" to rather well.
Armao avoided many questions and was unenthusiastic about reporters' suggestions that doctors be permitted to give more detailed medical reports and that one television and one still photographer be allowed to photograph the shah to demonstrate to Iranians that he was ill.
The evaluation of the shah's battle with lymph gland cancer next week will come at the end of the first planned course of radiation of his neck where his lymphoma had swollen dangerously.
If the 60-year-old shah has responded well and his bile duct problems can be solved, it is possible he would be switched to chemothreapy which could be administered in another country, Armao said.