MADRID, Nov 22 (Reuters) – The Spanish politician shot in Madrid earlier this month accused Iran on Wednesday of being behind his attempted murder in a message delivered to a conference organised by Iranian opposition supporters.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a founder of Spain’s far-right Vox party and former head of its centre-right People’s Party in Catalonia, was shot in the face in broad daylight on a pavement in the wealthy Salamanca neighbourhood of central Madrid on Nov. 9 by a motorbike pillion passenger.
The 78-year-old politician, who was European Parliament vice-president between 2009 and 2014, was described shortly after the shooting as a “staunch supporter” of Iran‘s opposition movement and the campaign for human rights in Iran over 25 years.
He remains in hospital recovering from a double jaw fracture.
Vidal-Quadras did not offer any proof to back up his claim and police have not confirmed any such theory.
Iran‘s embassy in Madrid said in a statement it “firmly condemns any kind of terrorist operation,” though it did not immediately comment on Vidal-Quadras’ claims.
In a statement read to European parliamentarians attending a conference organised by the Iranian opposition, Vidal-Quadras accused Iran of involvement in the attack on him.
“Let me remind you (of the methods) the Iranian regime uses to impose its malignant will upon us,” he wrote.
These included “to plot and execute terrorist attacks as the one I have recently suffered,” he said.
Three people – a British women and two Spanish men – were detained on Tuesday in Andalusia as part of an investigation into the shooting. The three were being transferred to Madrid on Wednesday to appear before an investigating High Court judge.
Vidal-Quadras called for a change in the EU policy towards the Islamic Republic to avoid trying to “appease, to negotiate, to dialogue and to make concessions”.
“The Iranian regime does not want to find some balance of power between us, it wants to sweep us away from the earth’s surface,” he said.
In October 2022, Vidal-Quadras was included in an Iranian sanctions list in retaliation for European Union sanctions imposed on the country following the death in custody of 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini which triggered months of nationwide protests.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro; Editing by Aislinn Laing and Angus MacSwan)