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Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is widely spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain and has a status of official language in the first three countries under different names. New Persian, which usually is called also by the names of Dari, Farsi, Parsi or Parsi-Dari, can be classified linguistically as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanian Iran, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids. Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. The Persian language has been a medium for literary and scientific contributions to the eastern half of the Islamic world. Persian has had a considerable influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Urdu. It has also exerted a smaller influence on Hindi, Punjabi, Saraiki and other South Asian languages, as well as Serbian and other Balkan languages (via Turkish).