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Le Monde Hints Alleged Iranian Connection in Assassination Attempt on Spanish Politician

madrid alejo vidal quadras Feb 23, 2024 (1)

On June 19, the French newspaper Le Monde published a detailed and revealing report on the assassination attempt of Prof. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice President of the European Parliament, which took place on November 9, 2023. According to the report, the main suspect, Mehrez Ayari, was arrested on June 6 in the Netherlands. Ayari was allegedly hired by the Iranian regime to carry out the attack, marking a significant development in the investigation.

Prof. Vidal-Quadras was targeted in broad daylight in Madrid. He was walking back home from Retiro Park when a man dressed in a blue jacket and wearing a motorcycle helmet approached him from behind and shot him. The 9mm bullet intended for his head went through his jaw due to a reflexive movement, saving his life. Passers-by quickly assisted Vidal-Quadras, who spent sixteen days in the hospital undergoing surgery.

From the outset, Vidal-Quadras did not hesitate to accuse the Iranian regime of being behind the assassination attempt. He told Le Monde, “I do not doubt that this is the Iranian regime. Iran has a long tradition of extraterritorial terrorist activities against dissidents and foreigners who support them.” His accusations stem from his long-standing support for the Iranian Resistance, particularly the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). His involvement with these groups earned him a place on a blacklist of enemies of the Iranian regime published by Tehran in October 2022.

The arrest of Mehrez Ayari has further solidified the suspicion of Iranian involvement. Ayari, a Tunisian national residing in Villejuif, France, had a criminal record filled with criminal offenses but had never been involved in something as significant as an international political assassination. Le Monde revealed that Ayari was already wanted by the French police for the murder of a small-time cannabis dealer in the Val-d’Oise in August 2022. The investigation showed that Ayari had slipped through the fingers of the police and continued his criminal activities, culminating in the attempt on Vidal-Quadras’ life.

Spanish investigators, collaborating with their French and Dutch counterparts, managed to track down Ayari through CCTV footage and an international arrest warrant issued just before the attack. The investigation uncovered that Ayari was preparing for another politically motivated murder at the time of his arrest. 

Le Monde’s report detailed the involvement of the Mocro Mafia, a powerful drug trafficking cartel based in the Netherlands, in the assassination attempt. This criminal group has previously been linked to other extrajudicial killings allegedly ordered by Tehran. According to Dutch intelligence, the Mocro Mafia had executed two Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017. The cartel’s willingness to undertake such high-risk assignments for the Iranian regime speaks volumes about the regime’s reach and its ability to manipulate criminal networks for political ends.

Prof. Vidal-Quadras’ accusations against Iran are not without precedent. The NCRI and the PMOI/MEK have long been targets of the Iranian regime’s aggression due to their relentless campaign for democracy and human rights in Iran. The former Spanish politician’s unwavering support for these groups made him a prime target for Tehran’s violent retribution.