Another smart pick: former Clinton Middle East envoy Dennis Ross will be named Obama’s troubleshooter for Iran, according to sources. Just so you know what we’re dealing with, check out this piece Ross wrote for a Newsweek special issue in December. Money quote:
The U.N. sanctions adopted in the past three years apply primarily to Iran’s nuclear and missile industries and haven’t targeted its economy. That’s given Tehran the luxury of ignoring them. Hitting the economy more directly would force Tehran to make a choice. Iran has profound economic vulnerabilities: it imports 43 percent of its gasoline, and its oil and natural-gas industries—the government’s key source of revenue, which it uses to buy off its population—desperately need huge amounts of new investment and technology. Iran also faces high inflation and unemployment. Tough sanctions that exploit these problems would force Iran’s leaders to see the high costs—as they measure them—of not changing their nuclear behavior.