John Boehner Benjamin Netanyahu
John Boehner with Benjamin Netanyahu after Netanyahu's speech before Congress in 2011Reuters

US speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of the US congress in February, as legislators consider tightening sanctions on Iran.

The Israeli prime minister, who is seeking re-election in a 17 March poll, has been extremely sceptical of American attempts to reach a compromise with Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Boehner invited Netanyahu to Washington just hours after US President Barack Obama told lawmakers that he would veto any new sanctions against Iran because the two sides are currently engaged in long-running diplomatic talks.

"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," Boehner said in a statement.

If he accepts the invitation, Netanyahu would address the topics of threats from Iran and Islamist extremism in general, according to the Associated Press.

In conjunction with a host of world powers, the US last year opened negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme and has temporarily lifted some economic sanctions on Tehran.

The talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1, which consists of Russia, Germany, France, the UK, China and the US, resumed this week in Geneva.