Iran has been linked to the attempted assassination of a Spanish politician who was shot in the face in Madrid on Thursday.
The Spanish right-wing politician Alejandro Vidal-Quadras was recovering today in a hospital after the shooting that occurred in broad daylight on a central street in the Spanish capital.
Police are not ruling out any hypotheses, including a possible link to the former European lawmaker’s ties to the Iranian opposition.
A police source close to the investigation told the AP that there was no evidence to support the Iranian link, but confirmed that Vidal-Quadras himself had raised that suspicion from his hospital bed and that investigators were looking into the matter.
An Iranian connection to the attempt is one of several possible motives.
Vidal-Quadras appears here in 2009.
In a sign that police were widening the investigation to look into the Iranian angle, another official revealed that a provincial squad that handles terrorism and extremism cases joined the investigations on Thursday night.
The investigation had previously been led by agents specializing in homicides. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the secrecy of the investigations, the AP reported.
Vidal-Quadras, 78, was attacked around 1:30 p.m. near his home in the Spanish capital and was conscious when emergency crews took him to a hospital.
There were no immediate arrests and police were reviewing surveillance footage and witness accounts to identify the shooter, who had been seen wearing a black helmet. The suspect fired one shot before fleeing on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.
A charred motorcycle found later that day in a suburban town outside Madrid is under investigation, one of the officials said.
Four hours after the shooting, the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid reported that the shot had fractured Vidal Quadras’ jaw and that he would undergo surgery.
He said that the politician was in stable condition and that his life was not in danger.
Vidal-Quadras was a member of Spain’s conservative People’s Party, its regional leader in Catalonia, and a member of the European Parliament before leaving after three decades when he fell out with then-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
After their split, he helped found the far-right party Vox.
He left Vox shortly after a failed attempt to win a seat as a European legislator in 2014.
As part of his political career, Vidal-Quadras has been aligned for decades with the Iranian opposition in exile, an involvement that was noted by Tehran.
In January, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that it had imposed sanctions on Vidal-Quadras along with others who had ties to the exiled opposition group known as Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, accusing them of “supporting terrorism and terrorist groups.” .
The group, known as MEK, began as a Marxist organization that opposed the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He claimed (and was suspected of) a series of attacks against US officials in Iran in the 1970s, something the group now denies.
The MEK operates under a variety of names, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran.
In mid-September, at a conference organized by the NCRI in Brussels, Vidal-Quadras criticized European Union officials and leaders for not being strong enough in their opposition to Iran and in their support for the exiled opposition.
The MEK has also paid former US and European officials to speak at its summits in the past.
Iranian state media in the past, citing reports from Spanish newspaper El País, had alleged that Vidal-Quadras’ Vox party had received money from the MEK. He described the payments as “terrorist money.”
“The Iranian Resistance sees Iran’s ruling religious fascism as the first suspect charged in this case, as Professor Vidal-Quadras has dedicated a significant part of his life to fighting it,” MEK leader Maryam Rajavi wrote. on X, formerly Twitter.
Reactions to the unusual shooting on a street in broad daylight multiplied, with many politicians and commentators expressing surprise.
“Thank God it seems that Alejandro Vidal-Quadras is out of danger,” said Vox president Santiago Abascal.
A Civil Protection spokesperson said Vidal-Quadras remained conscious and was rushed to the nearby Gregorio Marañón hospital.
Police work at the scene where Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former leader of Spain’s Popular Party in the Catalonia region, was shot in the face, in Madrid, Spain, on November 9.
The president of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, denounced the shooting and wished Vidal-Quadras the recovery. The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, also expressed his concern.
‘All my love right now (is) for him and his family,’ Sánchez said on X.
Vidal-Quadras was vice-president of the European Parliament and took a keen interest in foreign affairs, participating in the legislature’s delegations to the former Soviet republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
He has not been active in politics for several years, but has maintained a public role as a media commentator and columnist.