Matthew Yglesias notes that the neocons are now taking credit for the Iran election imbroglio, specifically via the demonstration effect of democracy in Iraq on Iran --
Then back in 2003 when a reformist president was actually in office and the Iranian government was looking to improve relations with the United States, the Bush administration chose to strengthen the hand of Iranian hardliners by (a) labeling Iran part of an “axis of evil” (b) refusing to engage in bilateral dialogue with Iran (c) cutting off cooperation on Afghanistan and (d) invading Iraq. We then got Ahmadenijad in the 2005 election, and now we’re watching the 2009 election unfold right before our eyes.
It's worse than that. George W. Bush issued a 2005 election eve statement trashing the entire process, and in doing so stoked the hardline base and helped Ahmadinejad get elected. From the statement --
The June 17th presidential elections are sadly consistent with this oppressive record. Iran's rulers denied more than a thousand people who put themselves forward as candidates, including popular reformers and women who have done so much for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran.
The Iranian people deserve a genuinely democratic system in which elections are honest - and in which their leaders answer to them instead of the other way around.
The rest of the statement confirmed this tone and essentially told the Iranian people that any elections run by the existing rulers were useless. Thus a double irony -- those meaningless 2005 elections produced a worse outcome than if the US had shut up, and the current elections, run under the exactly the same system, have rocked the Iranian regime.
And yet the policy that the neocons now want is for the US to insert itself into the process as it did in 2005.
Which, yet again, is also what the ayatollahs want!