West needs new missile shield to combat Iran nuke threat: NATO Chief

London, Sept 12 (ANI): The Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has said that the construction of a new missile defence system is required to protect Europe from the threat of an Iranian nuclear attack.

The Telegraph quoted Rasmussen as saying that having full American backing for a proposed €200 million (165 million pounds) defensive "shield", which might be agreed to in November at a summit of members in Lisbon, would be a positive step.

His statement follows the warning of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), last week, that Iran had passed a crucial nuclear threshold, which took it nearer to being able to arm ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

"Based on their public statements we know that Iran already has missiles with a range sufficient to hit targets in Europe, and they don't hide the fact that they want to further develop their capability," Rasmussen said.

"If Iran eventually acquires a nuclear capability, that 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 added.

He claimed that the new system could be set up in cooperation with Russia, which has angrily opposed previous American attempts to set up missile shields in Europe.

He further informed that under the plan, an anti-ballistic missile "shield" would be extended across Nato's territory, coordinated by a new command and control system that would "knit together" existing radar and other sensor systems, with new SM-3 missiles based on land.

"In a nutshell we could build an effective missile defence system to protect all our population by connecting existing systems. Even in a time of economic constraints it would cost very little, €200 million over 10 years, shared between 28 allies. For a modest cost we can protect 900 million citizens," he added. (ANI)

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