WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he travels to Washington in March.

A day after being caught off-guard by House Speaker John Boehner's invitation for the Israeli leader to address a joint meeting of Congress, the White House says the decision is in keeping with a "long-standing practice and principle" that the president does not meet with heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu accepted Boehner's invitation to speak about the threat posed by Iran. Congress is considering new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.

Obama has been urging Republicans, as well as some members of his own party, to hold off on passing new penalties while the U.S. and international partners are in the midst of nuclear negotiations with the Islamic republic.

Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he has been making a similar case to U.S. lawmakers.