Talks to end Iran’s long global ostracism were prolonged past an unofficial deadline today, but the word was conveyed by a new diplomatic method: a hotel memo extending room reservations.
Here is the memo, which appeared at Vienna’s Grand Hotel, where the US delegation is staying. Several journalists captured the image, including Al-Monitor’s Laura Rozen:
Until the memo appeared, the talks were thought to be working toward a drop-dead deadline of July 9 because of US politics—after that date, the time allotted to a largely hostile US Congress to review a deal would double to 60 days. Though it’s possible that a breakthrough in negotiations could wrap things up by July 9, the 60-day extension seems more likely. The extension means that, should a deal be struck, political forces in the US opposed to any accord with Iran would have much of the summer to organize its defeat.
When Jo Biddle, a reporter with Agence France Presse, first tweeted the photo of the memo, reporters understood that the negotiators were blowing past the deadline.
After that, US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that the talks would go past July 9. But then Biddle posted this tweet.
Stay tuned to the Grand Hotel.