• After Iran rejected Istanbul as a host for talks ostensibly to be held next week, many suspect that Iran is simply foot-dragging on talks in general. [NYT]
• David Ignatius reports that President Obama conveyed messages to Iran’s supreme leader through Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. Chiefly: Iran can have a civilian nuclear program if it means giving up forever on a weapons program. [WP]
• Dennis Ross says that the goal perhaps should be a deal that allows for limited, continued Iranian enrichment, but not to 20 percent and with the closing of the Fordow facility, as an intermediate step toward completely doing away with the alleged weapons program. [Washington Institute]
• It’s gotten to the point that Hezbollah’s continued fealty to Assad is hurting the group. Which means it will either grow less popular or decide to cut ties. We call that one of them good problems. [NYT]
• Seymour Hersh reports that the Iranian opposition group M.E.K.—which the State Department lists as a terrorist organization—and which has in the past been tied to Mossad and potentially to the assassinations of Iranian scientists, had operatives extensively trained by U.S. special forces on U.S. soil (Nevada, natch) in 2005. [New Yorker]
• David P. Goldman, who moonlights as Tablet Magazine’s classical music critic, brings his profession as a risk analyst to bear and determines that, contra Obama, it is lower supply rather than Mideast tensions that have pushed up oil prices. [Gatestone Institute]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.