(CNN) — British Prime Minister David Cameron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met Wednesday at the first such meeting in more than three decades.
The meeting took place at the United Nations in New York and, according to a statement from the UK mission there, was the first meeting of its kind since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
“The PM and President acknowledged that there had been significant differences between their countries in the past, and agreed that we should seek to progressively improve our bilateral relationship. They agreed that this would help build mutual trust and create the environment in which issues such as the future of Iran’s nuclear programme could be successfully addressed,” the statement read.
Iran and the group known as the P5+1 agreed in July to a four-month extension of negotiations toward a final comprehensive nuclear deal. The P5+1 includes Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.
The two leaders also spoke about ISIS, also known as ISIL, which calls itself the Islamic State, the statement said.
The group is made up of Sunni Muslims aiming to create a vast caliphate in the region under its strict, distinct version of Sharia law. Iran consists predominantly of Shiite Muslims, and it could find itself under attack if ISIS militants move east from Iraq into its territory.
However, Rouhani, in a recent interview with NBC News, did not appear to support Washington’s plan to form a coalition — one which he called “ridiculous” — or its using airstrikes, rather than ground forces, to combat the ISIS threat.
He spoke before the start of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria.
The Iranian President asked rhetorically if the United States, by conducting airstrikes, but refusing to put its own troops into battle, is “afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism.”
“If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes, so that nobody is injured from the Americans — is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice?” he said.
CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed to this report.