Ashton visit to Iran sparks co-operation and controversy
A visit to explore the potential for a new relationship between Iran and Europe has also ended up highlighting the enduring sensitivity of the old.
Hardliners have been on a political warpath this week after the first visit to Tehran by the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.
"Do you think our country has no order that you can go anywhere you want and see anyone you want to see?" the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, demanded on Tuesday night.
Leading clerics from the holy city of Qom have now added their voice, accusing the West of "reviving the plot of the soft revolution", a reference to the widespread street protests - blamed on foreign powers - that were sparked by the disputed 2009 presidential election.
When Baroness Ashton first landed in Tehran last weekend, moderate newspapers hailed her arrival as an "achievement" of the reformist President Hassan Rouhani.
Catherine Ashton in landmark bridge-building trip to Iran
The difficult and delicate process of forging a new relationship between Iran and the West takes another step this weekend with the first visit of Europe's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, to the Islamic Republic.
It will also be a significant challenge for Baroness Ashton as she seeks to build on recent foreign policy successes to broach critical issues ranging from human rights to Tehran's role in regional conflicts including Syria.
Syria crisis: A Palestinian plea from Yarmouk refugee camp
"Please, please take us out, we are dying here," 60-year-old Wafiqa pleads, sobbing uncontrollably as she cradles her lined face in rough gnarled hands.
She stumbles toward us in her grief, toward anyone she thinks can rescue her from the punishing eight-month siege of Yarmouk, a devastated Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus.
Syria open to dialogue, but on its terms
While all eyes are on the crisis unfolding in Ukraine, a solution also still seems a long way away in the Syrian conflict.
When the recent peace talks collapsed in Geneva, the United States, France and Britain blamed the Syrian government, accusing it of blocking any chance of establishing a transitional government.
Homs evacuees: Anxious young men from a besieged Old City
We didn't recognize the men we'd met just a few days earlier when they emerged from the rebel-held Old Quarter of Homs.
Their ragged beards are trimmed or shaved. They have new clean clothes.
Syria conflict: Emerging from the siege of Homs
The first to arrive couldn't walk.
They hobbled on crutches, lay moaning on stretchers, or were gently eased into wheelchairs from white armoured vehicles with blue UN flags.
Syria conflict: Aid and evacuations continue in Homs
The "humanitarian pause" in the Old City of Homs is a rare glimmer of light in a dark and devastating war. The UN says the mission has already helped a "significant" number of people to leave the besieged area and a "limited" amount of aid is getting through.
The UN's resident humanitarian co-ordinator, Yacoub El Hillo, told me they were "baby steps" that, he hoped, could lead to the "giant steps" that were needed.