Spanish police on Tuesday detained three people over an assassination attempt on a politician sympathetic to Iran’s opposition, looking into whether he has links with foreign countries.
The former head of Spain's center-right People's Party in the Catalonia region, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, was shot in central Madrid on November 9 and taken to hospital. Spanish media was teeming with stories about Iran’s possible role in the assassination attempt.
One of the suspects was arrested in the southern port city of Malaga and the other two in Granada, a police source told Reuters. Two of them were Spanish men and the third arrested was a British woman, the source said.
The 78-year-old conservative politician survived the attack as the bullet passed through his jaw but he is reportedly still in hospital.
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.