Obama urges Congress to give Iran diplomacy a chance

US President Barack Obama on Monday urged Congress to give diplomacy a chance in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, as support builds among lawmakers for a bid to slap new sanctions on Tehran.

Obama made the remarks following a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Oval Office.

"What we want to do is give diplomacy a chance and give peace a chance," Obama said.

"My preference is for peace and diplomacy ... now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions," Obama said.

The president said that the interim nuclear accord that will go into force on January 20 would offer time and space to for talks between Iran and world powers on a final deal to end Tehran's nuclear program.

"It's going to be difficult, it's going to be challenging, but ultimately this is how diplomacy should work."

"If Iran is willing to walk through the door of opportunity that's presented to them" then its country and people will benefit, he said.

"If they fail to walk through this door of opportunity, then we are in position to reverse the interim agreement and put in place additional pressure to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon."