U.S. House Speaker John Boehner
U.S. House Speaker John BoehnerReuters

The top Republican in Congress said Tuesday he was "shocked" by a report claiming that Israel spied on Iranian nuclear talks, saying the claims that information on the deal being formed was passed to Senators was patently false.

The Wall Street Journal late Monday claimed that in addition to Israelis spying on the highly-sensitive negotiations between Tehran and world powers over the Islamic regime's nuclear ambitions, details were back-channeled to US legislators in an effort to shot down the deal that US President Barack Obama has indicated he will force through, threatening to veto a Senate bill requiring the deal to be voted on.

"Frankly I was a bit shocked, because, there was no information revealed to me whatsoever," said House Speaker John Boehner, who will visit Israel in coming weeks following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election victory, reports AFP.

On the apparent leaking of details to unnamed members of Congress, Boehner said,"I'm not aware of that at all." Israel has already flatly denied the reports of spying.

Many Republicans are opposed to a deal that would leave Iran with key parts of its nuclear program intact, instead freezing or containing it. Experts have pointed out that 17 countries have peaceful nuclear programs, and none of them enrich uranium which can be used to create a nuclear weapon, as Iran is demanding it be allowed to continue doing.

Boehner did not comment on the appropriateness of Israelis potentially transferring sensitive negotiation data to members of Congress, saying only that he was "not sure what the information was - but I'm baffled by it."

Boehner irked many Democrats earlier this year when he arranged for Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress on the nuclear negotiations, without consulting with the White House but rather informing them of the invitation after it was finalized.

Several Democratic lawmakers boycotted the speech, in which Netanyahu warned of the perils of agreeing to an imperfect deal with Iran, and President Barack Obama declined to meet with the Israeli leader during his Washington visit.

Boehner travels to Israel during the congressional Easter recess, which begins late this week, although his office did not provide specific dates.

He is expected to lead a Republican congressional delegation to Israel and meet with Netanyahu.

A spokesman said Boehner "looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel."