Top EU politician who survived Iran assassination plot delivers ‘end appeasement’ plea to Cameron

Former European Parliament vice president Alejo Vidal-Quadras was in London today to urge the UK to proscribed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) after surviving an assassination attempt last year.

David Maddox
Political editor
Tuesday 07 May 2024 19:33 BST
Iran protests

A senior EU politician who survived a shocking assassination attempt last year has asked parliamentarians to tell foreign secretary Lord Cameron to end Britain’s “appeasement of Iran”.

Spanish politician Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former first vice president of the European Parliament, was in London today to talk to MPs and peers about the need to proscribe Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).

But attempts for him to meet a minister fell on deaf ears.

Professor Vidal-Quadras describes himself as “lucky” after surviving an assassination attempt on 9 November last year which saw a bullet miss his jugular and pass through his jaw.

He was in London with “a simple message” to “end the appeasement” of the regime in Iran and call on the UK to join the US in proscribing the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras was shot in an assassination attempt
Alejo Vidal-Quadras was shot in an assassination attempt (AP)

Prof Vidal-Quadras is the first European politician to be targeted in Europe with the FBI also preventing an attack in the US on former national secity adviser Jon Bolton.

He said he believes the attack on him is due to his longstanding support for National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) led by Maryam Rajavi.

The veteran Spanish politician told The Independent that the attempt on his life proves that Iran’s war “is now in Europe”.

But according to MPs Home Office ministers were unable to meet with the former head of the People’s Party in Spain following requests.

Tory former cabinet minister David Jones, who chairs the British Committee for Free Iran, said: “I think it is a shame that they [ministers] did not meet him. This is a brave man who is a substantial political figure as well as an academic. He has an important story to tell.

“Given that we know the that the IRGC is operating on British streets there is a serious security issue and Professor Vidal-Quadras could have provided useful information.”

MPs believes that a meeting was not arranged because of the Foreign Office’s opposition to following the US lead in proscribing the IRGC as terrorists.

It has been claimed that the IRGC has been responsible for at least 15 attacks on British streets.

Speaking to The Independent, Prof Vidal-Quadras described the drama of the assassination attempt for which five people have now been arrested with two more, including the assailant, on the run.

The 78-year-old was returning home in Madrid after his daily “morning healthy walk” and a man in a motorcycle helmet greeted him. As he turned the man shot him in the face, jumped on a motorbike and fled for the Portuguese border.

He said: “I was lucky because I turned my head. Normally they aim for the head or neck. Instead the bullet went into my jaw and out the other side.”

The attacker was unable to get a shot in because the street was crowded on a public holiday and in the hours which followed Mr Vidal-Quadras was rushed to hospital, passing out and regaining consciousness on a number of ocassions.

At one point he asked for his phone and typed the word “Iran” on it for the police.

Police work at the site where Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former head of Spain's People's Party in the Catalonia region, was shot in the face
Police work at the site where Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former head of Spain's People's Party in the Catalonia region, was shot in the face (REUTERS)

Prof Vidal-Quadras believes he was targeted after championing the cause of Iranian opposition groups and freedom from its fundamentalist regime for 20 years.

He said: “I could not speak but I wanted them to know who it was so another group of terrorists were not blamed.”

The attacker was linked to a mafia group which is hired for assassinations.

Mr Vidal-Quadras today addressed the cross party group of parliamentarians the British Committee for Iranian Freedom.

Before the meeting he told The Independent, that he has a message for Lord Cameron and the British government.

He said: “My main message is fairly simple. Everybody can understand it.

“We have been trying a policy for 40 years of appeasement, negotiation, concessions and distinction between moderates and hawks, which which is something ridiculous.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras had a message for Lord Cameron (Thomas Peter/PA)
Alejo Vidal-Quadras had a message for Lord Cameron (Thomas Peter/PA) (PA Wire)

“In the Iranian regime, there are no moderates. It is a regime that last year executed 840 people, political opponents, young people for minor crimes, that beats young girls to death because they have the veil not well placed.

“If a policy does not work then change the policy. Because with more concessions and more appeasement they are more aggressive.

“So for God's sake, this government, the EU and its allies need to recognise reality. The policy should be the only one they understand which is a policy of strength, political pressure, international isolation, cancellation of all diplomatic and trade relations, economic sanctions, support to the Iranian opposition and to the Iranian people in their struggle against this criminal regime.”

He added that those who claim that proscribing the IRGC is “futile” and “would not work” are wrong.

“At the least we would make it difficult for them. We can seize their assets and prevent their supply of money.”

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