Persian has historically been, after Arabic, the most prestigious literary language in the Muslim world and a vehicle of cultural expression in Ottoman Turkey, Central Asia, Mogul India and, of course, Persia (greater Iran). The influence of Persian literature and Persicate culture therefore covered a wide region, from the Balkans to Bangladesh, and from the Persian Gulf to north of the Jaxartes River in Central Asia. Today Persian is the official language of Iran and Tajikistan, and one of the two official languages of Afghanistan (along with Pashto). Persian is also spoken by small residual communities in neighboring countries, such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf states, and Iraq, as well as in newly established enclaves abroad: Persian-speaking Jewish immigrants to Israel, and the diaspora to North America, Europe, and Australia that resulted from the political upheavals and wars in Iran and Afghanistan during the 1970s and the 1980s.

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