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.
On Saturday morning Iranian newspapers, of a more reformist leaning, welcomed her mission, hailing it as an achievement of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's new approach.
Coverage of her visit, across moderate and hardline media, will underline both the centrality and sensitivity of her role here.
Mrs Ashton has been widely credited with playing a key role in negotiating the landmark interim deal between Iran and world powers last November, which requires Tehran to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for limited relief from sanctions.
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.
Syrian peace talks: Small steps forward, big lurches backwards
"If peace cannot be brought, how can humanity be brought to the conduct of the war?"
That's how David Miliband, who heads the International Rescue Committee, recently phrased two pressing goals for Syria.
More Syrians flee besieged Homs Old City
The tide of people continued - elderly men and women on stretchers or crutches, exhausted mothers in tears, children who went straight into the arms of waiting aid officials from the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society. Water, bread, even polio vaccinations were provided on the spot.
Many residents who have finally escaped speak of having only grass and olives to eat.