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**Iran** is divided into thirty-one “**Ostan(Provinces of Iran)**“, each of which is managed by the city, a local settlement called Markaz. The state administration is headed by a Governor-commander appointed by the Minister of the Interior with the approval of the Council of Ministers.

Iran has preserved its modern territory since the **Treaty of Pari**s in 1857. From 1906 to 1950 Iran was divided into twelve states: Ardalan, Azerbaijan, Baluchestan, Fars, Gilan, Araq-e Ajam, Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kerman, Larestan, Lorestan, and Mazandaran. In 1950, Iran reunited with sub-governorates to form Gilan, Mazandaran, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Fars, Kerman, Khorasan, Isfahan.

From 1960 to 1981, governorships were promoted to state status one by one. Since then, new provinces have been created until 2010, when the new **Alborz State** left Tehran. There are thirty-one provinces in Iran. **Provinces of Iran **are divided into sub-regions called Shahrestans.

## Thirty-One Provinces of Iran

### Highlights of the Provinces of Iran

- Iran’s largest population is Tehran, the largest is Kerman, and the province with the highest population is Tehran.
- The province with the lowest population is Ilam, the smallest province is Alborz, and the province with the lowest population density is Semnan.
- Razavi Khorasan has the most shahrestan province while Qom is the least shahrestan province.
- Qom is the only region that is both shahrestan and province. Iran’s most recent province is Alborz.

### Alborz

Its capital is **Karaj**. The area of the province is 5,833 square kilometers. **Alborz** has a population of 2,712,400 and a population density of 413.6 square kilometers. The province is divided into four Shahrestans. Alborz is the newest province established in 2010 by leaving **Tehran**.

### Ardabil

Its capital is **Ardabil**. The area of the province is 17,800 square kilometers. With a population of 1,270,420, Ardabil has a population density of 70.1 square kilometers. The province is divided into nine Shahrestans. Ardabil left **East Azerbaijan** province in 1993 and became a province.

### East Azerbaijan

Its capital is **Tabriz**. The province has an area of 45,650 square kilometers. **East Azerbaijan** has a population of 3,909,652 and has a population density of 82.3 square kilometers. The province is divided into nineteen Shahrestans.

### West Azerbaijan

Its capital is **Urmia**. The area of the province is 37,437 square kilometers. With a population of 3,265,219, **West Azerbaijan** has a population density of 78.8 square kilometers. The province is divided into fourteen Shahrestans. During **the Pahlavi Dynasty**, the capital Urmia was known as Rezaiyeh.

### Bushehr

Its capital is **Bushehr**. The area of the province is 22,743 square kilometers. With a population of 1,163,400, Bushehr has a population density of 45.4 square kilometers. The province is divided into nine Shahrestans. Bushehr was part of the Persian province and until 1977, the province was known as K**halij-e Fars**.

### Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari

Its capital is **Shahrekord**. The area of the province is 16,332 square kilometers. The population density of **Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari,** which has a population of 947,763, is 54.8 / square kilometers. The province is divided into six Shahrestans. Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari were part of Isfahan province until 1973.

### Fars

Its capital is **Shiraz**. The area of the province is 122,608 square kilometers. The population of **Fars** is 4,851,274 and the population density is 37.5 / square kilometers. The province is divided into twenty-three Shahrestans. Fars is one of the provinces with the highest population and the largest area of Iran.

### Gilan

Its capital is **Rasht**. The area of the province is 14,042 square kilometers. With a population of 2,530,696, the population density of **Gjilan** is 176.7 square kilometers. The province is divided into sixteen Shahrestans.

### Golestan

Its capital is **Gorgan**. The area of the province is 20,195 square kilometers. **Golestan** has a population of 1,868,819 and has a population density of 88 square kilometers. The province is divided into eleven Shahrestans. On May 31, 1997, the shahrestan of Aliabad, Gonbad-e-kavus, Gorgan, Kordkuy, Minudasht and Torkaman left Mazandaran to form the Golestan province.

### Hamadan

Its capital is **Hamadan**. The surface area of the province is 19,368 square kilometers. Population density of Hamadan, whose population is 1,738,234, is 90.8 / sq. Km. The province is divided into eight Shahrestans. Hamadan was a part of Kermanshah.

### Hormozgan

Its capital is **Bandar Abbas**. The area of the province is 70,669 square kilometers. With a population of 1,776,415, Hormozgan has a population density of 22.3 / sq. Km. The province is divided into eleven Shahrestans. Until 1977, Hormozgan was part of the province of Kerman.

### Ilam

Its capital is **Ilam**. The province covers an area of 20,133 square kilometers. The population of Ilam is 580,158 and its population density is 27.7 / square kilometers. The province is divided into seven Shahrestans. Before Ilam became a province, it belonged to Kermanshah province.

### Isfahan

Its capital is **Isfahan**. The area of the province is 107,029 square kilometers. Isfahan has a population of 5,120,850 and a population density of 45.6 / sq. Km. The province is divided into twenty-one Shahrestans. In 1986, parts of the Markazi province were transferred to Isfahan, Semnan and Zanjan.

### Kerman

Its capital is **Kerman**. The area of the province is 183,285 square kilometers. The population density of Kerman is 3,164,718 and its population density is 16.3 / square kilometers. The province is divided into fourteen Shahrestans.

### Kermanshah

Its capital is **Kermanshah**. The area of the province is 24,998 square kilometers. Kermanshah has a population of 1,952,434 and has a population density of 77.8 square kilometers. The province is divided into thirteen Shahrestans. Between 1950 and 1979, Kermanshah province and city was known as Kermanshahan. From 1979 to 1995, it was known as **Bakhtaran**.

### North Khorasan

Its capital is **Bojnourd**. The area of the province is 28,434 square kilometers. **North Khorasan** has a population of 863,092 and a population density of 30.5 / sq. Km. The province is divided into six Shahrestans. On September 29, 2004, Khorasan was divided into three states: North Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, and South Khorasan.

### Razavi Khorasan

Its capital is **Mashhad**. The province has an area of 118,884 square kilometers. Razavi Khorasan has a population of 6,434,501 and a population density of 41.4 / sq. Km. The province is divided into twenty-nine Shahrestans. On September 29, 2004, Khorasan was divided into three states: North Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, and South Khorasan.

### South Khorasan

Its capital is **Birjand**. The area of the province is 151,913 square kilometers. With a population of 768,898, South Khorasan has a population density of 9.5 / sq. Km. The province is divided into eight Shahrestans. On September 29, 2004, Khorasan was divided into three states: North Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, and South Khorasan.

### Khuzestan

Its capital is **Ahvaz**. The area of the province is 64,055 square kilometers. **Khuzestan** has a population of 4,710,509 and has a population density of 67.8 square kilometers. The province is divided into eighteen Shahrestans.

### Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad

Its capital is **Yasuj**. The area of the province is 15,504 square kilometers. The population density of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, with a population of 713,052, is 42.5 / sq. Km. The province is divided into five Shahrestans. Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad left the province of Khuzistan in 1990 and became a province.

### Kurdistan

The capital of **Sanandaj** is 29,137 square kilometers. The population density of Kurdistan is 1,603,011 and its population density is 51.3 / sq. Km. The province is divided into nine Shahrestans. Kurdistan was separated from Gilan province and became a province.

### Lorestan

Its capital is **Khorramabad**. The area of the province is 28,294 square kilometers. **Lorestan** has a population of 1,760,649 and a population density of 62 square kilometers. The province is divided into nine Shahrestans. Lorestan province was separated from Khuzestan province and became a province.

### Markazi

Its capital is **Arak**. The area of the province is 29,130 square kilometers. **Markazi** has a population of 1,429,475 and a population density of 48.5 / sq. Km. The province is divided into ten Shahrestans. Markazi province was separated from Mazandaran province in 1990 and became a province.

### Mazandaran

The capital is **Sari**. The area of the province is 23,701 square kilometers. **Mazandaran** has a population of 3,283,582 and a population density of 129.7 square kilometers. The province is divided into fifteen Shahrestans.

### Qazvin

Its capital is **Qazvin**. The area of the province is 15,549 square kilometers. The population density of Qazvin is 1,273,761 and its population density is 77.3 square kilometers. The province is divided into five Shahrestans. On December 31, 1996, Qazvin and Takestan’s shahrestans left Zanjan province to form the province of Qazvin.

### Qom

Its capital is **Qom**. The area of the province is 11,526 square kilometers. With a population of 1,292,283, the population density of Qom is 99.9 / square kilometers. The province consists of one Shahrestans. Until 1995, Qom was the shahrestan of Tehran province.

### Semnan

Its capital is **Semnan**. The area of the province is 97,491 square kilometers. With a population of 702,360, the population density of **Semnan** is 6.5 / sq. Km. The province is divided into four Shahrestans. Until 1986, Semnan province was part of Mazandaran province.

### Sistan and Baluchestan

Its capital is **Zahedan**. The area of the province is 180,726 square kilometers. With a population of 2,775,014, the population density of Sistan and **Baluchestan** is 13.9 square kilometers. The province is divided into eight Shahrestans. Until 1986, the province was known as Baluchestan and Sistan.

### Tehran

Its capital is **Tehran**. The area of the province is 18,814 square kilometers. The population of Tehran, which has a population of 13,267,637, is 647.6 / sq. Km. The province is divided into thirteen Shahrestans. In 1986, Tehran left Markazi and became a province.

### Yazd

Its capital is **Yazd**. The surface area of the province is 129,285 square kilometers. Yazd has a population of 1,138,533 and a population density of 8.3 / sq. Km. The province is divided into ten Shahrestans. Yazd was a part of Isfahan before it became a province.

### Zanjan

Its capital is **Zanjan**. The area of the province is 21,773 square kilometers. With a population of 1,057,461, the population density of Zanjan is 46.6 square kilometers. The province is divided into seven Shahrestans. Zanjan left in 1986 and became a province.

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