*talk of strike on iran's nuclear sites*

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    "Counter-terror specialists look for "chatter" in Islamic extremist circles preceding an attack. There is a lot of chatter going on today in Washington - only this time, it is about an American attack on Iran.

    In seminars and hallways, there is eager anticipation of an air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Sure, the talk goes, we may not get all those buried nuclear labs. But a few waves of cruise missiles and bombers will set Iran's programme back several years, enough time to pursue a regime change in Tehran.

    The Iran buzz is loud enough to have prompted an unusual statement by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last week that any attack on Iran would be "inconceivable." In a message meant for Washington and for Britons nervous about joining yet another war, Straw added: "I don't see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran, full stop."

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