A person who obsessively tracks Iran policy tells me that Dennis Ross's State Department appointment may finally be announced next week. A second well-connected source says he's heard the same talk but cautions that the Ross rumor mill is often wrong. Both say his portfolio is expected to cover more than just Iran, probably to include the Gulf region as a whole (creating the possibility of overlap with, among others, special Middle East envoy George Mitchell). Whether the administration has yet figured out exactly how it wants Ross to proceed towards Iran is a very different question. But especially with the news that Iran now has enough uranium to fashion a bomb, nonproliferation types and Iran hawks are impatient to get the show on the road already. Of course, even when it does we may not know, as Ross has written in the past that he favors beginning negotiations with Iran in secret.

--Michael Crowley