The video in question, published by Iran’s state-owned Press TV, purported to show the launch of a Khoramshahr on Saturday, and was lauded by Iran’s leadership and seen as a response to the President’s confrontational UN speech earlier in the week.
The alleged launch was widely reported in the media although it was emphasised that is had not been confirmed.
But US officials have since said they did not detect a missile launch and the footage actually shows a failed attempt from January that failed during re-entry.
It is not clear when this conclusion was reached and if or when the President was briefed but he clearly took the video at face-value on the day.
Initial concern that Trump had tweeted classified information has now turned to concern the President could take action into response to “fake news”.
Last week in a thunderous speech, 42 minutes long according to the official transcript, Trump took aim at Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional influence.
He called the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, an embarrassment and hinted that he may not recertify the agreement when it comes up for a mid-October deadline.
“We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” he said. He said the Iranian government “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a withering response: “Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times - not the 21st Century UN - unworthy of a reply. Fake empathy for Iranians fools no one.”