IMO the middle east set more closely exemplifies Sassanian era architecture, whereas Central Asian more exemplifies Safavid era architecture.
To me the civ design seems to tilt more to safavid, so if the devs want to make the persians embody Persian history as a whole, then i can see using the middle east architecture as a counterbalance.
If the devs really wanted to double down that in game persians represent safavids, then I’d agree, but I don’t think the devs are focusing 100% so I think the middle east set is reasonable. Not to say the desire for central asian architecture is un-reasonable but I think the using the middle eastern set is justifiable.
(Not a great image, as the building has not been treated kindly by the elements). Here you can see the buildings look a lot like the Central Asian Feudal barracks. The colour of the brickwork is also closer.
At least according to the wiki, the middle eastern set uses Iranian architecture as an influence whereas central asian architecture using Timurid architecture of Samarkand and Bukhara as the primary influences.
If you look up the wikipedia page on iranian architecture (it seems to mean the architecture of iran thru history not iranian architecture as a singular concept), to me eye the earlier stuff looks more like middle eastern set, but yeah you get into the later safavid stuff and it’s very close to central asian.
Here’s the thing, Arabic architecture uses some Persian elements because after conquering them, they used their architects for some buildings. Namely, mosques. So it was going to have Persian elements no matter what.
Central Asian on the other hand is just 100% Persian. Samarkand and Bukhara were built by the Persians. Timurid architecture is also heavily taken from Persian architecture, just taken to a bit more of an extreme.
Clicking the “Parthian style” links to buildings like I posted earlier, which in my opinion still look closer to the Feudal Age Central Asian set.