Administrative divisions of Iran

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On the first level of country subdivisions of Iran are the provinces.

Each province is further subdivided into counties called shahrestan (Persian: شهرستان shahrestān‎‎), and each shahrestan is subdivided into districts called bakhsh (Persian: بخش bakhsh‎‎). There are usually a few cities (Persian: شهر shahr‎‎) and rural districts (Persian: دهستان dehestān‎‎) in each county. Rural districts are a collection of a number of villages. One of the cities of the county is appointed as the capital of the county.

According to the government of Iran,[1] as of June 2012 (Iranian calendar 1391), the figures are as follows:

English Persian sing. Persian pl. number
Provinces استان ostān استان‌ها ostānhā 31
Counties شهرستان shahrestān 402
Districts بخش bakhsh 999
cities شهر shahr 1,167
rural districts دهستان dehestān 2,512

According to the Statistical Center of Iran,[2] the figures are as follows, as of March 2005 (end of Iranian calendar 1383):

English Persian sing. Persian pl. number
Provinces استان ostān استان‌ها ostānhā 30
Counties شهرستان shahrestān 324
Districts بخش bakhsh 865
cities شهر shahr 982
rural districts دهستان dehestān 2378

To better understand such subdivisions, the following table may be helpful. Assume that province P is divided into two counties: A and B. County A has 3 districts: Central, X, and Y. The Central district is the district that contains City M, the capital of the county. Each district might contain one or more cities or one or more RDs (rural districts). In our example, the Central district contains City M, City N, and RD T composed of the villages V1, V2, V3, and V4, in turn; district X contains City O and RD U; and district Y has no cities and one RD V. The minimal county consists of only one city as the only district, named Central, which is most common. The county B in the following table is of such type, containing only one city Q.

Province County District City / RD* Villages
P A Central City M (c)
City N
RD T V1, V2, V3, V4
X City O
RD U V5, V6
Y RD V V7, V8, V9
B Central City Q

References and notes

  1. Iranian Ministry of Interior
  2. website of the Statistical Center of Iran website in English is no longer updated (2006).