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Dennis Ross To Handle *iraq*??

This is becoming a kind of comedy routine. Next thing you know he'll be headed to the domestic policy council to manage health care.

I have no hard information to add to the curious Politico report, which comes via Robin Wright, except that last week one person who follows Iran policy closely firmly insisted to me that Ross would continue to be the administration's Iran point man. Based on this morning's report I'll offer three possible explanations for this latest report:

1. Ross clashed with others in the administration and was booted off the Iran portfolio. (I doubt this is the case.)

2. It became clear to Obama that the Iranians vehemently dislike Ross, who has hawkish views about their nuclear program, and that his central role on Iran policy was a barrier to fruitful negotiations, so Ross was relocated. (Maybe but doubtful.)

3. Obama is simply pretending to take Ross off the Iran portfolio to assuage the Iranians in hopes of getting them to talk. (The best bet, I'd say.)

But all three could be wrong. Stay tuned. 

--Michael Crowley