Persian at The University of Montana
Modern Persian is a spoken language of more than 100 million people around the world. It is an official language of Iran (as Farsi), Tajikistan (as Tajik) and also in Afghanistan (as Dari). Persian is also spoken in Uzbekistan, southwestern Pakistan, northern Iraq and southwestern Turkey, as well as by numerous speakers in living the countries of Europe and the USA. There are more than 1 million Persian speakers in the United States.
Persian is one of the world's oldest languages, a well-recognized tongue as early as the 6th century BC. Since ancient times the Persian language has had an enormous impact on a number of other languages. One can trace origin of words and some linguistic tendencies in many other languages - including European ones, such as English for example - from Persian. The place and role of Persian culture in the development of the world civilization and its influence on the history and culture of many countries and peoples was truly substantial. Modernly, Iran is one of the powerful, strategically important and influential countries in the Middle East that plays important role in the political development of the whole region.
Considering the developments in the world political arena and specially in the Middle East the U.S. government deems the study of Persian language as crucial to national security and promotes the Persian language teaching programs as important to the nation's interests.