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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 agglomerations (Persian: دهستان dehestān) in each county. Rural agglomerations 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 Statistical Center of Iran, the figures are as follows, as of March 2005 (end of Iranian calendar 1383):
|Provinces||استان ostān||استانها ostānhā||30|
|rural agglomerations||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 and/or one or more RAs (rural agglomerations). In our example, the Central district contains City M, City N, and RA T composed of the villages V1, V2, V3, and V4, in turn; district X contains City O and RA U; and district Y has no cities and one RA V. The minimal county consists of only one city as the only district, named Central, of course. The county B in the following table is of such type, containing only one city Q.
|P||A||Central||City M (c)|
|RA T||V1, V2, V3, V4|
|RA U||V5, V6|
|Y||RA V||V7, V8, V9|
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