Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress on May 24, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden, :L, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, applaud. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, an opponent of talks with Iran, to address Congress.
Boehner, R-Ohio, announced the invitation Wednesday, five days after President Obama urged Congress to give negotiations a chance. Obama promised Friday to veto any new sanctions, telling Republicans he will act quickly on sanctions if the talks fail.
The speaker told a meeting of Republican representatives Wednesday morning he had invited Netanyahu to speak on "the threats posed by radical Islam and Iran." Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 11.
"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 said. "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."
Obama addressed the nuclear negotiations with Iran in his State of the Union Address Tuesday:
"There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But 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."
Netanyahu has addressed joint sessions on two previous occasions, including one after Boehner became speaker.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said at a hearing Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he believes the United States has moved closer to Iran's positions during the negotiations.
Menendez is normally an ally of Obama but is closer to hawkish Republicans on Iran.