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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu weighs in on dispute with Obama

JERUSALEM - Israel's premier says he will go "anywhere" he is invited to speak about the country's stance regarding Iran's nuclear program.

Benjamin Netanyahu's comments come amid a public spat with the Obama administration over how to counter Iran and a contentious invitation from House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner for the Israeli prime minister to address the U.S. Congress. The Obama administration has said the invitation is a breach of diplomatic protocol and has warned against issuing new sanctions at this time.

Reuters reports Netanyahu made the remarks during a briefing to his cabinet on the planned U.S. speech.

"In coming weeks, the powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state," he said in remarks carried by Israeli broadcasters. "As prime minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weaponry that wil lbe aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is global and I will go anywhere I am invited to make the State of Israel's case and defend its future and existence."

Is Obama snubbing Netanyahu? 08:49

CBS' "Face the Nation" anchor Bob Schieffer said last week that this is likely the first time a foreign leader has been invited to address the Congress without coordination with the White House.

"This really caught people by surprise over at the White House," Schieffer said.

The scheduled speech would also come just weeks before March elections in Israel and has sparked outrage from Netanyahu's domestic opponents.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that Boehner's invitation "seems to be an attempt to intervene for Netanyhau in the Israeli elections."

Netanyahu made the comments Sunday. He also said it was his duty to do everything possible to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The White House said President Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits.

"As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. "Accordingly, the president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress."

The invitation comes as Congress is gearing up for a debate over additional sanctions on Iran. Republican lawmakers, along with several key Democrats, hope that additional sanctions could apply pressure to Iran in the nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and its European partners. But the administration has warned that any new punitive action against Iran could end up jeopardizing the prospect of a deal.

As he has before, President Obama warned lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Tuesday to hold off on imposing any new sanctions until the negotiations conclude.

Last week, during a meeting with the House GOP conference, Boehner took square aim at the president's objections.

"He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran," Boehner told his caucus. "Two words: 'Hell no!' We're going to do no such thing."

During a news conference on Tuesday, the speaker said he did not consult with the White House before issuing the invitation -- "The Congress can make its decision on its own" -- but he also insisted, "I don't believe I'm poking anyone in the eye."

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