While Spain is in shock after a politician was shot in the face, Spanish media is whispering about Iran’s possible role in the assassination attempt.
The former head of Spain's center-right People's Party in the Catalonia region, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, was shot on his doorstep in the wealthy Salamanca area of central Madrid at about 1.30 p.m. Thursday and taken to hospital.
The founder of the Vox party miraculously survived as a bullet passed through his jaw. Police were hunting a gunman and an accomplice who drew up near Vidal-Quadras on a black Yamaha motorcycle, shot him, then drove off. A torched motorcycle police believe was used in the attack was later found. According to local media, police believe the shooter was a professional, paid to kill the politician.
Immediately after the incident, Spanish media reported speculations of Iran’s possible involvement in the attack with claims that Vidal-Quadras told doctors and relatives post-surgery that he believes Iran is behind the hit, which was then relayed to Spanish authorities. If true, it would be an unprecedented attack by the Islamic Republic on Spanish soil.
In October 2022, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs imposed sanctions on a long list of critics for their solidarity with the popular uprising sparked by the death in custody of a young woman that came to be known as the Women, Life, Freedom movement.
Vidal-Quadras, who served as European Parliament vice-president between 2009 and 2014, was accused by Tehran of "supporting terrorism and terrorist groups and spreading violence and hatred" for his strong condemnations of the crackdown on protests by the country’s ruling circle as well as his contacts with exiled opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). The Spaniard was among eight European entities and 12 people who were blacklisted by Tehran in retaliation to the European Union sanctions imposed on Iran.
Shahin Gobadi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the MEK, said in a statement on Thursday that Vidal-Quadras has been a staunch supporter of the Iranian opposition movement and fight for human rights in Iran over the past 25 years.
Spain’s El Mundo daily highlighted a statement by the Iranian Embassy in Spain released within hours after the assassination attempt, condemning MEK for acts of terrorism against over “17,000 Iranian innocent victims.”
"The Iranian nation has been and is one of the largest and oldest victims of terrorism," reads the brief text, published on the social platform X (formerly twitter). The Embassy emphasized that "the fight against terrorism and bringing the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice are defined as one of the principles and priorities of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which firmly condemns any type of terrorist operation.”
El Mundo quoted MEK leader Maryam Rajavi as saying that it is “clear” that “the main suspect is the religious fascism that has power in Iran.”
Spanish online newspaper El Español also wrote of “the shadow of the ayatollahs” in the assassination attempt, citing police sources as saying that Vidal-Quadras himself has indicated that in his work as a lawyer he handled cases related to the opposition to the Islamic Republic regime.