By Ivan Watson
Talks began Tuesday between six world powers and Iran over its controversial nuclear program for the first time in nearly eight months.
But the mood going into the negotiations was as gloomy as the fog that hung over this snowbound Central Asian city.
"I don't think tomorrow (Tuesday) is likely to be a day in which we can announce a great success," a diplomat participating in the negotiations told journalists on condition of anonymity on the eve of the first meeting.
Other officials were not so optimistic either.
"Most probably, the negotiations in Almaty will fail," said Hossein Mousavian, who served as Iran's nuclear negotiator until 2005.
Iran has held several rounds of negotiations with the P5 plus 1, which comprises Germany and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The five members are the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.