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Chapter 4 supplies an in-depth analysis of abolition as a process of erasure after the Manumission Law of 1929. During the Pahlavi era (1925–79), erasure guided abolition to the extent that entire palace wings were demolished, dictionary definitions of slavery were carefully rewritten, and ancient Iranian history was reframed entirely. Iranians began to adopt an exclusively US-centric understanding of enslavement and its legacies, as well as embracing a nationalist Aryan myth and eliding any reference to Iranian enslavement or Black Iranians on a broad scale in urban centers. This chapter examines how the manumission law and the efforts surrounding it were intended not to rectify the harms of enslavement but to restructure society as if no one had ever been enslaved. While the Pahlavis crafted a modern image of Iran on the world stage, freedpeople quietly built new lives as Iranian citizens.

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