Boehner invites Israeli leader to address Congress on Iran

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Boehner: 'Hell No' To Holding Off Iran Sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) - Rebuffing President Barack Obama on Iran, House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday he had invited Israel's prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress next month about the threats from Tehran and radical Islam.

The Republican leader released a letter extending the invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu for Feb. 11. Boehner also told a private meeting of GOP lawmakers that Congress would proceed on new penalties against Iran despite Obama's warning that any legislation would scuttle diplomatic negotiations over the country's nuclear program.

"You may have seen that on Friday, the president warned us not to move ahead with sanctions on Iran, a state sponsor of terror," Boehner told colleagues, according to his office. "His exact message to us was: 'Hold your fire.' He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran.

"Two words: 'Hell no!' ... We're going to do no such thing," the speaker said.

The U.S. and other Western countries believe that Iran is intent on trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran claims its nuclear program is peaceful and exists only to produce energy for civilian use.

The high-stakes invitation came just hours after Obama, in his State of the Union address, told Congress that he would veto any sanctions legislation and he urged Congress to delay further penalties against Iran.

"New sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails - alienating America from its allies, and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again," Obama said Tuesday night. "It doesn't make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom."

Obama last week warned that rash action by Congress would increase the risk of a military showdown with Iran, and that "Congress will have to own that as well." In an unusual step, British Prime Minister David Cameron had called members of Congress to urge them to hold off on sanctions.

The White House had no immediate comment on the Boehner invitation. Typically, requests for foreign leaders to address Congress are made in lengthy consultations with the White House and the State Department.

Boehner said in a statement that Netanyahu "is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people. In this time of challenge, I am asking the prime minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life. Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again."

Boehner is enlisting Netanyahu as a powerful messenger who could argue for a tougher stance toward Iran and an individual who carries considerable sway with Congress. The prime minister repeatedly has warned that a nuclear deal could undercut Israel's security.

The invitation comes at a crucial time for Netanyahu, who is in the middle of a re-election campaign. In Israel, there was no immediate comment from the prime minister's spokesman.

Netanyahu has addressed a joint meeting of Congress on two previous occasions, in July 1996 and May 2011.

Related Gallery: Photos from Obama's 2015 State of the Union

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Boehner invites Israeli leader to address Congress on Iran
President Obama mostly focused on economic issues, taxes and the middle class in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. He also discussed foreign policy and called for congress to authorize the use of force against Islamic State militants. (Jan. 21)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands after delivering the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, center, speaks with Secretary of State John Kerry as he enters the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with an attendee as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama departs following his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. lawmakers pay tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks by holding up pencils during the State of the Union address by U.S. President Barack Obama on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
US lawmakers pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks by holding up pencils during the State of the Union address by US President Barack Obama, before a joint session of Congress on January 20, 2015 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, bottom row second left, astronaut Scott Kelly, top row from right, aid worker Alan Gross, a former Cuban prisoner, and his wife Judy Gross applaud while listening to U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol with in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., applauds as she listens to U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama, front, waves as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress while U.S. Vice President Joseph 'Joe' Biden, second right, and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, right, applaud at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington, as Vice President Joe Biden applauds and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listens. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama presented a broad agenda on income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama listens to applause as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, applaud in the background. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
Alan Gross (C), the US contractor released from prison in Cuba last month, is applauded during US President Barack Obama's State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. CapitolJanuary 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. Also pictured are Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) (R-OH). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Alan Gross (C), recently freed after being held in Cuba since 2009, pumps his fist after being recognized by U.S. President Barack Obama during the State of the Union speech in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. Also pictured are Dr. Pranav Shetty of Washington, DC, Judy Gross, and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama prepares to give his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama waves before giving his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker of Ohio listen as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama waves before giving his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Vice President Joe Biden applaud (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama gives a copy of his State of the Union address to Vice President Joe Biden, prior to delivering it before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015.House Speaker John Boehner of hio is at right. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama is greeted on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Barack Obama (R) departs following his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill January 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
US President Barack Obama (C) arrives to deliver the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama greets House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Vice President Joe Bien on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama hugs Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before giving his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
U.S. President Barack Obama greets attendees as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) talks with Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) before the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Gen. Raymond Odierno (L) talks with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) before the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (C) shakes hands before the start of the State of the Union speech in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner await the arrival of President Barack Obama for the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol before U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rep.Paul Ryam R-Wis. waits on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) wait for the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Rep.Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Baraclk Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, talks with Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Alan Gross waves from the first lady's box before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Chief Justice John Roberts arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, for President Barack Obama;s State of the Union addre. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waits for the start of the State of the Union address by President Barack Obama Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
First lady Michelle Obama acknowledges applause on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Front rowm from left are, Astrid Muhammad, Anthony Mendez, Mrs. Obama, and Jill Biden. Second row, from left are, Pranav Shetty, Judy Gross, Alan Gross and Scott Kelly. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US First Lady Michelle Obama arrives for the State of the Union address by husband US President Barack Obama at the US Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, center, attends the State of the Union address by U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama's motorcade makes its way along Independence Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol prior to the State of the Union address to Congress, January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Drew Angerer-Pool/Getty Images)
Members of the media set up for television broadcasts in National Statuary Hall before U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. President Obama will focus on the gap between wealthy Americans and middle- and lower income households Tuesday night in Washington when he lays out his plans for what the White House is calling the 'fourth quarter' of his presidency. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. Capitol police officers stand on guard in the Capitol Building Rotunda before U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. President Obama will focus on the gap between wealthy Americans and middle- and lower income households Tuesday night in Washington when he lays out his plans for what the White House is calling the 'fourth quarter' of his presidency. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images`
Capitol police gather at the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2015 before US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: The sun sets behind the U.S. Capitol ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Later this evening, Obama will deliver his sixth and final State of the Union adress to the nation. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Capitol Police Officer John O'Shea (C) checks passes while standing guard ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address at the Capitol building January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Later this evening, Obama will deliver his sixth and final State of the Union adress to the nation. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The Washington Monument is seen on the eve of the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama will on Tuesday demand a hostile Congress increase taxes on the rich, in a State of the Union address that sets the stage for coming election battles. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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