Spanish politician shot in Madrid points finger at Iran

Spanish politician shot in Madrid points finger at Iran

MADRID (AFP): A right-wing Spanish politician who was shot in November in Madrid on Friday accused Iran of being behind his attempted murder during his first public appearance since the attack.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a founder of Spain’s far-right Vox party and former head of its centre-right People’s Party in Catalonia who has long supported Iran’s opposition movement, was shot in the face in broad daylight near his home in the upscale Salamanca neighbourhood on November 9 by a motorcycle passenger.

“I have no doubt that it was the Iranian regime,” the 78-year-old, who was European Parliament vice-president between 2009 and 2014, told a news conference in the Spanish capital.

Tehran has “a long tradition, a track record, of extraterritorial terrorist activities” against “dissidents and against foreigners who support then,” he added, without offering any proof to back up his claim.

Four people have been arrested as part of the investigation into the shooting, but the suspected gunman — a French national of Tunisian origin with several previous convictions in France, remains at large.

Police have not commented on a possible motive for the shooting.

Vidal-Quadras, who already pointed the finger at Iran when he was questioned by police after the shooting, said it was a “miracle” that he survived.

“I made a movement of my head that meant that the shot, which was supposed to be fatal, was not,” he said.

The bullet entered one side of his jaw and exited the other, and Vidal-Quadras spent time in hospital recovering from a jaw fracture.

“The detonation sounded like a thunderclap in my head, in fact I have a perforated eardrum, and I started bleeding, it caused a puddle on the floor,” he said.

Vidal-Quadras said he believes the quick intervention of a passer-by, who stopped the bleeding with a piece of clothing, saved his life.

He said he has suffered from after-effects since the shooting, including “some paralysis of the facial muscles”.

Vidal-Quadras, a top member of the International Committee in Search of Justice which supports the “Iranian resistance”, has long called for the international community to harden its position towards Iran.