19th May 2024
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Possible Iran link, after Spanish right-wing politician shot in the face in Madrid

Update:

Spanish police are investigating a possible Iran link after the Spanish right-wing former politician, Alejandro Vidal-Quadras, was shot in the face on a central Madrid street on Thursday (see original full report below).

As part of his political career, Vidal-Quadras had been aligned for decades with the Iranian opposition in exile, an involvement that was noticed by Tehran.

In January, the Iranian foreign ministry announced it had imposed sanctions on Vidal-Quadras along with others who had ties with the exiled People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq), accusing them of ‘supporting terrorism and terrorist groups’.

The group began as a Marxist organisation opposing the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It claimed, and was suspected of, a series of attacks against US officials in Iran in the 1970s, which it now denies.

In mid-September, addressing a conference organised by the group in Brussels, Vidal-Quadras criticised EU officials and leaders for not being strong enough in their opposition to Iran and in their support for the exiled opposition.

In the past, Iran’s state-run media, citing reporting by the Spanish daily newspaper El País, has alleged Vidal-Quadras’s Vox party received MEK money. It described the payments as ‘terrorist money’.

The MEK leader, Maryam Rajavi, wrote on X (formerly Twitter): ‘The Iranian Resistance sees Iran’s ruling religious fascism as the first suspect accused in this case, as Prof Vidal-Quadras has dedicated an important part of his life to fight against it.’

Vidal-Quadras has not been active in politics for several years but has maintained a public role as a media commentator and columnist.

Original full report:

Veteran Spanish right-wing politician Alejandro Vidal-Quadras has been taken to a hospital in Madrid after being shot in a street in the capital, police said on Thursday.

Police said he was shot at point blank range in the face on a central street, Núñez de Balboa, at around 1.30pm local time and was conscious when taken to hospital. He is reported to be in a ‘critical yet stable’ condition.

Four hours after the shooting, Madrid’s Gregorio Marañón general university hospital said the bullet had fractured Vidal-Quadras’s jawbone and that he would undergo surgery.

Vidal-Quadras, 78, was a long-time member of Spain’s right-wing People’s Party (PP), its regional leader in Catalonia, and a European Parliament member before he broke away to help found the far-right Vox party. He left Vox shortly after a failed attempt to win an MEP seat in 2014.

Spanish media have reported that the gunman was wearing a crash helmet and had waited for Vidal-Quadras at the entrance to his home. After the shooting, the gunman then fled on a motorcycle with another person who was waiting. With the motorcycle later found burned out in the Fuenlabrada area of Madrid, El Español digital newspaper has reported that the police are working on the hypothesis that the shooting was carried out by ‘hitmen’.

Vox President Santiago Abascal said he believed Vidal-Quadras’ life was not in immediate danger.

‘Thank god it seems that Alejandro Vidal-Quadras is out of danger,’ Abascal said at a press briefing on Thursday.

PP President Alberto Núñez Feijóo deplored the shooting and wished for his recovery.

Spain’s acting socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on X (formerly Twitter): ‘I want to convey my solidarity and wishes for a speedy recovery to Alejo Vidal-Quadras. All my affection at this time for him and his family. We trust that the investigation can clarify the facts as soon as possible and those responsible will be arrested.’

ALSO READ: The PSOE and Junts sign a pact that will guarantee investiture of Pedro Sánchez.

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