Talks between world powers and Iran over the latter's controversial nuclear program have nearly spanned two years since an interim deal was struck in November 2013, and even recent deadlines on a final deal have proven elusive with two extensions in two weeks, the latest pushing it back to this Friday.
Just how have top negotiators from the world's most influential countries been spending their time? The answer may surprise you.
In Vienna for the latest round of talks, the US negotiating team has in just five weeks scarfed down ten pounds of strawberry flavored Twizzlers, 20 pounds of string cheese, 30 pounds of mixed nuts and dried fruit, and over 200 rice krispies treats, reports the Boston Globe on Tuesday.
One top US official told the paper that "the number of espresso pods we’ve gone through is in the hundreds."
Negotiators aren't the only ones being pampered. The Austrian Foreign Ministry has been providing free ice cream to restless reporters in an attempt to help them cope with the soaring temperatures.
But the negotiating teams from around the world have not just been taking in junk food - some of their consumption has been much more immoral in nature.
The manager of a local brothel in Vienna told Reuters on Sunday that since the Iran negotiations arrived in the city, "business is booming."
He wouldn't list names as far as which officials most often partake of his institution, but expressed his hopes that the talks would keep dragging on so that he could continue to sell sexual services.
Austria has legalized brothels. In fact, last month an Austrian night club announced its customers could get free sex throughout the summer to protest what it claimed are punitive tax rates on the illicit industry.
There have even been rumors that Vienna's Palais Coburg hotel, a 19th century CE palace which has been the scene of most talks since February 2014, has a network of underground tunnels leading to brothels and other similar institutions.
Who will play John Kerry?
Getting back to the US negotiating team, one member estimated that they have traveled a total of 400,000 miles in the last 18 months of talks, meaning they've flown enough to circle the globe 16 times.
The Boston Globe describes the talks as an "off-stage operation with the feel of a college dorm room during exam week, complete with all-nighters and off-color jokes."
During down time, the officials have discussed which Hollywood stars would play each of them if a movie was ever made about the Iran nuclear deal.
They decided that US Secretary of State John Kerry would be played by Ted Danson, the role of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz would be filled by Javier Bardem, negotiator Wendy Sherman would be Meryl Streep, and spokesperson Marie Harf would be played by Kirsten Dunst.
"We refer to ourselves as big happy family," revealed one US official. "And that’s really true, because we’ve seen more of each other than our actual families."
Yet despite all the frolicking on the sidelines, the negotiators have been unable to reach a deal with Iran that would ensure it will not achieve a nuclear arsenal in less than a few years.
This story has been edited from the source material.
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