Iran acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that newly imposed sanctions "may slow down" its nuclear drive, including its sensitive uranium enrichment work, but said it will not halt it. The comments by the head of Iran's atomic energy, Ali Akbar Salehi, were the first admission by a senior official of the impact of new UN sanctions imposed on June 9. "One can't say sanctions are ineffective," Iran's ISNA news agency quoted Salehi as telling a press conference in the southern port city of Bushehr. "If sanctions are aimed at preventing Iran's nuclear activities... we say they may slow down the work, but will not stop the activities. This is a certainty." Previously senior officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had been defiant in their dismissal of the new sanctions. Speaking soon after the UN Security Council adopted the new measures, Ahmadinejad said they were like a "used hanky which should be thrown in the dustbin."