President Donald Trump on Friday said it is a "good thing" if Iran is confused by US policy.
In a tweet, Trump lambasted the media for what he said was its "fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran."
But in his view, the coverage had one positive effect.
"At least Iran doesn't know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!" he tweeted.
The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!
The White House has sent mixed signals in recent days, amid multiple US media reports of infighting in Trump's cabinet over how hard to push Washington's arch-foe Iran.
The Trump administration has ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing threats from Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups, and sent an aircraft carrier and heavy B-52 bombers to the region.
According to US media reports, Trump's long-hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is pushing a hard line on Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.
Trump himself said recently that he has to "temper" Bolton.
On Thursday, when asked if there would be a war with Iran, Trump told CNN: "I hope not."
US coalition partners in Iraq had suggested earlier this week that the threat level there had not risen significantly, and members of Congress demanded to see the information behind the administration's apparent preparation for possible conflict.
In a tweet, Trump lambasted the media for what he said was its 'fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran.'