Europe may require a new missile defence shield to protect itself against the Iranian nuclear threat, Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said.

“If Iran eventually acquires a nuclear capability, it will be very dangerous, and a direct threat to the allies. That is the reason why I am now proposing a new and effective Nato missile defence system,” he said.

The new system would be set up in cooperation with Russia and the US, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Europe’s anti-missile defences currently consist of interception missiles based on US warships, which would track and attempt to shoot down missiles during an attack.