Reuel Marc Gerecht joins the pro-Raisi Iran hawk bandwagon ahead of Iran’s presidential election:

Washington would be far better off if a “hard-liner” won the presidential contest. It would make it more difficult for Congress and the Trump administration to deceive themselves about Iran’s intentions.

This is lousy analysis of what would be best for U.S. interests, which would not be served by having a more antagonistic and intransigent Iran. More than that, it is an admission that Iran hawks couldn’t care less what happens to the Iranian people, which should be obvious after they have urged sanctions and/or bombing Iran on a regular basis for a decade and a half. These hawks are eager for Iranians to have an even worse government than they already do. This isn’t the usual “better the devil we know” argument for the status quo over change. On the contrary, it is an explicit appeal for the victory of the worse candidate–a change for the worse–in the hope that it will cause Iran more misery and hardship. No one needs to have any illusions about the abusive and authoritarian Iranian regime to recognize this desire as a perverse and warped one. No one needs to have any illusions about the pace or scale of political change inside Iran to recognize that a Raisi victory would be a sudden move in the wrong direction.

Gerecht is essentially echoing the same bankrupt argument Abrams made a few days ago. Both Gerecht and Abrams concede that Rouhani is likely to win unless the election is rigged against him, so when they root for a Raisi victory they are effectively rooting for a stolen election. They crave an Iran that they can more easily vilify and isolate in order to keep tensions with their government as high as possible, and a Raisi win makes their jobs much easier.