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Iran Provinces Provinces of Iran Buy data      Donate Updates: 

Thanks to Sorin Cosoveanu for 2016 census data (source [8]).

On 2015-11-27, ISO announced an update that changes the spelling of five province names. It just uses a different method of transliteration from Arabic script.

"Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes, Edition 2" (GENC), a U.S. standard that's supposed to correspond to ISO 3166-2, was issued on 2014-03-31. It gives Alborz the code IR-32 . Subsequently, on 2014-10-30, ISO issued that same code for Alborz.

In 2012, the Majlis considered a plan to split a Persian Gulf province from Hormozgan.

Sorin Cosoveanu found the results of the 2011 census at http://www.amar.org.ir/, the website of the Statistical Center of Iran. The populations and areas in the main table below are from his spreadsheet.

Update 3 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2011-02-28. It changes the transliteration of two province names.

Update 1 to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes", dated 2010-08-20, adds a code for the new Alborz province. I also revised the list of internet second-level domain codes to bring it up to date. When first letter of the code represents Kh, it is now an x; those codes used to begin with k.

A correspondent who identifies him- or herself as a resident of Kermanshah(an) province tells me that its correct name is Kermanshahan. I did a search to see what documentation I could find on the subject. I found 57 sources, dated from 1922 to 2006. Just about all sources are consistent with the supposition that both the capital city and the province were named Bakhtaran during a period from 1986 (or earlier) to around 1995. Also, the capital seems to have been called Kermanshah consistently, aside from that lacuna. As for the province, all sources prior to 1969 called it Kermanshah. From 1969 to 1985, most sources (12 out of 17) called it Kermanshahan. The other five were probably just copying the name from their own earlier editions. From 1996 to 2001, I find a mixture, with three occurrences of Kermanshah, three of Kermanshahan, and three of Bakhtaran. Since 2001, five sources are unanimously agreed on Kermanshah. As mentioned below, both the ISO and GEC standards have explicitly stated that the name was changed from Kermanshahan to Kermanshah, no later than 2001. Today (2007-08-10), a Google search prefers "Kermanshah province" to "Kermanshahan province" by a 28.5:1 ratio. Wikipedias in a dozen different languages spell it without the "-an" ending. Some of them give its Persian name in Arabic script, which transliterates to "Kermanshah". I'm still open to further evidence, but for the present I have to conclude that its English name is Kermanshah.

Khorasan was split into three provinces on 2004-09-29. ISO 3166-2 Newsletter I-8, published on 2007-04-17, has ISO codes for the new provinces of Iran. FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It assigns new GEC codes to these new provinces, and changes the code for Yazd province due to its territorial change.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It adds the new provinces of Golestan and Qazvin. It also makes spelling changes similar to those in FIPS Change Notice 6 (next paragraph). I've added the new ISO codes for Golestan and Qazvin to the table below.

Change Notice 6 to FIPS PUB 10-4 was published on 2001-01-28. It shows new spellings for the names of two Iranian provinces. Kermanshahan is supposed to be changed to Kermanshah, and Kohkiluyeh va Buyer Ahmadi is now Kohgiluyeh va Buyer Ahmad.

Change notice 5 to FIPS PUB 10-4 was issued on 2000-08-10. It showed three new provinces in Iran: Golestan, Qazvin, and Qom. These provinces had already been reported on this page and elsewhere.

Country overview: 
Short name IRAN
ISO code IR
GEC code IR
Language Persian (fa)
Time zone +3:30 ~
Capital Tehran

 

Iran began the century as an absolute monarchy. It has had major changes in government since then, but its borders have undergone only minor adjustments. The names Persia and Iran had both been used for the area since antiquity. Although Iran was a more correct name for the modern kingdom, westerners used Persia preferentially until 1935. Then the Iranian government requested a change, and standard usage in the West shifted to Iran.

Other names of country:  Danish: Iran, Persien (obsolete)Dutch: Iran, Islamitische Republiek Iran (formal)English: Islamic Republic of Iran (formal), Persia (obsolete)Finnish: IranFrench: Iran, R�publique f Islamique d' Iran m (formal)German: Iran mIcelandic: �ranItalian: Iran mNorwegian: Den islamske republikk Iran (formal) (Bokm�l), Den islamske republikken Iran (formal) (Nynorsk), IranPersian: Jomhoori-e-Islami-e-Iran (formal)Portuguese: Ir�o, Ir� m (Brazil), Rep�blica f Isl�mica do Ir�o m (formal), P�rsia f (obsolete)Russian: Исламская Республика Иран (formal), Персия (obsolete)Spanish: Ir�n, Rep�blica f Isl�mica del Ir�n m, Rep�blica Isl�mica de Ir�n (formal)Swedish: IranTurkish: İran İslam Cumhuriyeti (formal)Origin of name: 

from Avestian Ayryanem : land of the Aryans

Spelling note: Persian (sometimes called Farsi) is spelled with a modified Arabic alphabet. Transliteration into the Roman alphabet can be done by various systems. As a result, there are many alternate spellings for these names. In particular, the letters o and u are often switched. So are a, e, and i. Some schemes use x instead of kh. Many schemes use diacritical marks for long vowels or aspirated consonants, but they seem to be inconsistent, so I haven't attempted to use diacriticals.

Primary subdivisions: 

Iran is divided into 31 ostanha (sing. ostan: provinces).

Province HASC ISO Dom GEC Pop-2016 Pop-2011 Area(km.�) Area(mi.�) Capital
Alborz IR.AL 32   IR44 2,712,400 2,412,513 5,122 1,977 Karaj
Ardebil IR.AR 03 ar IR32 1,270,420 1,248,488 17,800 6,873 Ardebil
Bushehr IR.BS 06 bu IR22 1,163,400 1,032,949 22,743 8,781 Bushehr
Chahar Mahall and Bakhtiari IR.CM 08 cb IR03 947,763 895,263 16,328 6,304 Shahr-e-Kord
East Azarbaijan IR.EA 01 as IR33 3,909,652 3,724,620 45,651 17,626 Tabriz
Esfahan IR.ES 04 es IR28 5,120,850 4,879,312 107,018 41,320 Esfahan
Fars IR.FA 14 fr IR07 4,851,274 4,596,658 122,608 47,339 Shiraz
Gilan IR.GI 19 gl IR08 2,530,696 2,480,874 14,042 5,422 Rasht
Golestan IR.GO 27 gs IR37 1,868,819 1,777,014 20,367 7,864 Gorgan
Hamadan IR.HD 24 hm IR09 1,738,234 1,758,268 19,368 7,478 Hamadan
Hormozgan IR.HG 23 hr IR11 1,776,415 1,578,183 70,697 27,296 Bandar-e-Abbas
Ilam IR.IL 05 il IR10 580,158 557,599 20,133 7,773 Ilam
Kerman IR.KE 15 kr IR29 3,164,718 2,938,988 180,726 69,779 Kerman
Kermanshah IR.BK 17 ks IR13 1,952,434 1,945,227 25,009 9,656 Kermanshah
Khuzestan IR.KZ 10 xz IR15 4,710,509 4,531,720 64,055 24,732 Ahvaz
Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad IR.KB 18 kb IR05 713,052 658,629 15,504 5,986 Yasuj
Kordestan IR.KD 16 kd IR16 1,603,011 1,493,645 29,137 11,250 Sanandaj
Lorestan IR.LO 20 lr IR23 1,760,649 1,754,243 28,294 10,924 Khorramabad
Markazi IR.MK 22 mr IR34 1,429,475 1,413,959 29,127 11,246 Arak
Mazandaran IR.MN 21 mz IR35 3,283,582 3,073,943 23,842 9,205 Sari
North Khorasan IR.KS 31 xl IR43 863,092 867,727 28,434 10,979 Bojnurd
Qazvin IR.QZ 28 qz IR38 1,273,761 1,201,565 15,567 6,011 Qazvin
Qom IR.QM 26 qm IR39 1,292,283 1,151,672 11,526 4,450 Qom
Razavi Khorasan IR.KV 30 xr IR42 6,434,501 5,994,402 118,851 45,889 Mashhad
Semnan IR.SM 12 sm IR25 702,360 631,218 97,491 37,641 Semnan
Sistan and Baluchestan IR.SB 13 sb IR04 2,775,014 2,534,327 181,785 70,188 Zahedan
South Khorasan IR.KJ 29 xj IR41 768,898 662,534 95,385 36,828 Birjand
Tehran IR.TE 07 th IR26 13,267,637 12,183,391 13,692 5,287 Tehran
West Azarbaijan IR.WA 02 ag IR01 3,265,219 3,080,576 37,411 14,445 Orumiyeh
Yazd IR.YA 25 yz IR40 1,138,533 1,074,428 129,285 49,917 Yazd
Zanjan IR.ZA 11 zn IR36 1,057,461 1,015,734 21,773 8,407 Zanjan
31 provinces 79,926,270 75,149,669 1,628,771 628,872
Postal codes: 

Iran uses five-digit postal codes.

Further subdivisions:

See the Counties of Iran page.

The provinces are subdivided into shahrestan (counties), which are in turn subdivided into bakhsh (districts).

Territorial extent: 

Hormozgan includes most of the larger islands off Iran's south coast: Qeshm, Lavan, Kish, Larak, Hormoz, Hengam, Forur, Sirri. It also includes Abu Musa, an island which is administered jointly by Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

The UN LOCODE page  

Origins of names:  Azarbaijan: see the country listing for AzerbaijanBaluchestan: land of the Baluchi (ethnic name; see Balochistan in Pakistan)Esfahan: Avesti espahan: armiesFars: from Old Persian parsi: pureGilan: from Persian gil: a medicinal plantHamadan: Old Persian hangmatana, probably meaning place of assemblyKhorasan: Persian "where the sun arrives from"Kordestan: land of the KurdsKhuzestan: Middle Persian for the land of Husa (the city known in ancient times as Susa)Markazi: Persian for centralTehran: possibly meaning "flat land"Change history:  In 1900, the provinces of Iran were Ardelan, Azarbaijan, Baluchestan, Farsistan, Gilan, Irakajemi, Khorasan, Khoristan, Kerman, Larestan, Lorestan, and Mazandaran. There were a number of splits and boundary changes in the first half of the century.1950: Iran reorganized into 10 numbered provinces: 1 (Gilan), 2 (Mazandaran = Tehran), 3 (East Azarbaijan), 4 (West Azarbaijan), 5 (Kermanshahan), 6 (Khuzestan), 7 (Fars), 8 (Kerman), 9 (Khorasan), 10 (Esfahan).~1960-1981: Governorates, which had hitherto been subordinate to provinces, were promoted one by one to province status. In this way, Chahar Mahall and Bakhtiari province (formerly Bakhtiari governorate) and Yazd split from Esfahan; Khalij-e Fars (Persian Gulf) split from Fars; Banader va Jazayer-e Bahr-e Oman (Ports and Islands of the Sea of Oman) split from Kerman; Kordestan and Zenjan split from Gilan; Hamadan and Ilam split from Kermanshahan; Bovir Ahmadi and Kohkiluyeh province and Lorestan split from Khuzestan; Markazi and Semnan split from Mazandaran.~1977: Name of Khalij-e Fars changed to Bushehr; name of Banader va Jazayer-e Bahr-e Oman changed to Hormozgan. The two provinces appear to have been united for a period around 1970.~1979: In the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, all names reminiscent of Shah Reza Pahlavi were changed. Name of Kermanshahan, and its capital, Kermanshah, both changed to Bakhtaran. Name of capital of West Azarbaijan changed from Rezaiyeh to Orumiyeh. (The city had been renamed from Orumiyeh -- then spelled Urmia -- to Rezaiyeh in 1926, before it was a capital.)~1986: Markazi province (capital: Tehran, GEC=IR19) split up into a smaller Markazi, a new Tehran province, and portions which were annexed to Esfahan (former GEC code IR06), Semnan (IR18), and Zanjan (IR21); part of Kerman province (IR12) annexed to Yazd (IR20); name of Baluchestan and Sistan province changed to Sistan and Baluchestan. This table shows the divisions of Iran at about the time of the 1986 census.
Province GEC Population Area(km.�) Capital
Bakhtaran IR13 1,622,159 23,667 Bakhtaran
Bovir Ahmadi and Kohkiluyeh IR05 496,739 14,261 Yasuj
Bushehr IR22 694,252 27,653 Bushehr
Chahar Mahall and Bakhtiari IR03 747,297 14,870 Shahr-e-Kord
East Azarbaijan IR02 4,420,343 67,102 Tabriz
Esfahan IR28 3,682,444 104,650 Esfahan
Fars IR07 3,543,828 133,298 Shiraz
Gilan IR08 2,204,047 14,709 Rasht
Hamadan IR09 1,651,320 19,784 Hamadan
Hormozgan IR11 924,433 66,870 Bandar-e-Abbas
Ilam IR10 440,693 19,044 Ilam
Kerman IR29 1,862,542 179,916 Kerman
Khorasan IR30 6,013,200 313,337 Mashhad
Khuzestan IR15 3,175,852 67,282 Ahvaz
Kordestan IR16 1,233,480 24,998 Sanandaj
Lorestan IR23 1,501,778 28,803 Khorramabad
Markazi IR24 1,182,611 29,539 Arak
Mazandaran IR17 3,793,149 47,375 Sari
Semnan IR25 458,125 90,039 Semnan
Sistan and Baluchestan IR04 1,455,102 181,578 Zahedan
Tehran IR26 9,982,309 29,933 Tehran
West Azarbaijan IR01 2,284,208 38,850 Orumiyeh
Yazd IR31 691,119 70,011 Yazd
Zanjan IR27 1,776,133 36,398 Zanjan
24 provinces 55,837,163 1,643,967
  • GEC: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Population: 1991-12-11 census.
~1990: Name of Bovir Ahmadi and Kohkiluyeh province changed to Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad.1993: Ardebil province (1991 population 1,141,625) split from East Azarbaijan.~1995: Name of Bakhtaran province changed back to Kermanshah.1995: Qom province formed by taking Qom county from Tehran province.1996-12-31: Qazvin province formed by taking Qazvin and Takestan counties from Zanjan province.1997-05-31: Golestan province formed by taking Aliabad, Gonbad-e-kavus, Gorgan, Kordkuy, Minudasht, and Torkaman counties from Mazandaran province.~2002: Tabas county (area = 55,344 km.�) transferred from Khorasan province to Yazd (former GEC code IR31).2004-09-29: Khorasan divided into three provinces. According to Wikipedia, this measure was approved by the parliament on 2004-05-18, and by the Council of Guardians on 2004-05-29. The codes for Khorasan province before the split were HASC = IR.KR, ISO = 09, Dom = kh, and GEC = IR30, and its capital was Mashhad. The counties of Khorasan were distributed as follows: Bojnurd, Esfarayen, Jajarm, Maneh and Samalqan, and Shirvan to North Khorasan; Bardeskan, Chenaran, Darrehgaz, Fariman, Ferdows, Gonabad, Kalat, Kashmar, Khaf, Mashhad, Neyshabur, Qayenat, Quchan, Rashtkhar, Sabzevar, Sarakhs, Taybad, Torbat-e-Heydariyeh, and Torbat-e-Jam to Razavi Khorasan; and Birjand, Nehbandan, and Sarbisheh to South Khorasan.2007-03: Ferdows county transferred from Razavi Khorasan to South Khorasan.2010-06-23: Alborz province split from Tehran (former HASC code IR.TH). It consists of Karaj, Nazarabad, and Savojbolagh counties.Other names of subdivisions:  Ardebil: Ardabil (variant)Bushehr: Banader va Jazayer-e Khalij-e Fars, Khalij-e Fars (obsolete-Persian); Bushire (variant); Persian Gulf, Ports and Islands of the Persian Gulf (obsolete)Chahar Mahall and Bakhtiari: Bakhtiari, Chaharmahal va Bakhtiyari (variant-Persian); Charmahal-Bakhtiyari (variant)East Azarbaijan: Azarbayjan-e Khavari (Persian); Azarbaijan-e Sharghi, Azarbaijan-Sharqi, East Azarbayejan (variant); Azerba�djan e Sharqi (French)Esfahan: Isfahan, Ispahan (variant)Hamadan: Hamedan (variant)Hormozgan: Banader va Jazayer-e Bahr-e Oman, Ports and Islands of the Sea of Oman, Saheli (obsolete)Ilam: Ilam and Poshtkuh (obsolete)Kermanshah: Bakhtaran (obsolete); Kermanshahan (variant)Khorasan: Khorassan (obsolete); Khorazan, Khurasan (variant)Khuzestan: Khuzistan (variant); Kouzistan (French)Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad: Bovir Ahmadi and Kohkiluyeh, Boyer-Ahmad and Koh-Giluye, Boyer Ahmad e Kohkiluyeh, Boyer Ahmadi-ye Sardir va Kohkiluyeh, Kohgiloyeh va Boyerahmad, Kohgiluyeh and Boveir Ahmadi, Kohkiluye-Boyerahmad (variant); Kohkiluyeh and Buyer Ahmadi (obsolete)Kordestan: Kurdistan (variant)North Khorasan: Khorasan-e Shemali, Khorasan-e Shomali (Persian)Razavi Khorasan: Khorasan-e Razavi (Persian)Sistan and Baluchestan: Baluchestan va Sistan, Seistan and Baluchistan (variant); Sistan e Baloutchistan (French)South Khorasan: Khorasan-e Janubi, Khorasan-e Jonubi (Persian)Tehran: Teheran (obsolete); Teher�n (Spanish); T�h�ran (French); Тегеран (Russian)West Azarbaijan: Azarbayjan-e Bakhtari (Persian); Azarbaijan-e Gharbi, West Azarbayejan (variant); Azerba�djan e Gharbi (French)Population history:
Province 1956-11-01 1966-11-01 1976-11-01 1986-09-22 1991-12-11 1996-10-21 2006-10-28 2011-10-24
Alborz 2,412,513
Ardebil 1,168,011 1,228,155 1,248,488
Bushehr 188,063 598,331 347,863 612,183 694,252 743,675 886,267 1,032,949
Chahar Mahall and Bakhtiari 340,612 298,448 394,357 631,179 747,297 761,168 857,910 895,263
East Azarbaijan 2,112,134 2,596,439 3,197,685 4,114,084 4,420,343 3,325,540 3,603,456 3,724,620
Esfahan 1,342,169 1,703,701 2,176,694 3,294,916 3,682,444 3,923,255 4,559,256 4,879,312
Fars 1,107,619 1,439,804 2,035,582 3,193,769 3,543,828 3,817,036 4,336,878 4,596,658
Gilan 1,422,407 1,752,504 1,581,872 2,081,037 2,204,047 2,241,896 2,404,861 2,480,874
Golestan 1,617,087 1,777,014
Hamadan 730,365 889,888 1,088,024 1,505,826 1,651,320 1,677,957 1,703,267 1,758,268
Hormozgan 240,289 462,440 762,206 924,433 1,062,155 1,403,674 1,578,183
Ilam 148,307 246,024 382,091 440,693 487,886 545,787 557,599
Kerman 616,705 761,851 1,091,148 1,622,958 1,862,542 2,004,328 2,652,413 2,938,988
Kermanshah 708,242 776,409 1,030,714 1,462,965 1,622,159 1,778,596 1,879,385 1,945,227
Khuzestan 1,290,175 1,578,079 2,187,118 2,681,978 3,175,852 3,746,772 4,274,979 4,531,720
Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad 161,219 244,370 411,828 496,739 544,356 634,299 658,629
Kordestan 490,244 619,573 782,440 1,078,415 1,233,480 1,346,383 1,440,156 1,493,645
Lorestan 564,987 686,307 933,939 1,367,029 1,501,778 1,584,434 1,716,527 1,754,243
Markazi 3,264,140 4,979,081 6,421,540 1,082,109 1,182,611 1,228,812 1,351,257 1,413,959
Mazandaran 1,188,316 1,841,637 2,387,171 3,419,346 3,793,149 4,028,296 2,922,432 3,073,943
North Khorasan 811,572 867,727
Qazvin 1,143,200 1,201,565
Qom 853,044 1,046,737 1,151,672
Razavi Khorasan 2,023,612 2,497,381 3,264,398 5,280,605 6,013,200 5,988,029 5,593,079 5,994,402
Semnan 177,239 207,786 289,463 417,035 458,125 501,447 589,742 631,218
Sistan and Baluchestan 428,363 454,966 664,292 1,197,059 1,455,102 1,722,579 2,405,742 2,534,327
South Khorasan 636,420 662,534
Tehran 8,712,087 9,982,309 10,343,965 13,422,366 12,183,391
West Azarbaijan 719,023 1,087,182 1,407,604 1,971,677 2,284,208 2,496,320 2,873,459 3,080,576
Yazd 356,849 574,028 691,119 810,401 990,818 1,074,428
Zanjan 1,117,157 1,588,600 1,776,133 1,869,147 964,601 1,015,734
Total 18,954,704 25,078,893 33,708,744 49,445,010 55,837,163 60,055,488 70,495,782 75,149,669

 

Sources for census data: 1956 - [7]; 1966 - [6]; 1976 - [2]; 1991 - [1]; 2011 - [5].

Sources:  [1] The Statesman's Year-Book, 1997-98 edition.[2] Iran Almanac, 1978 edition.[3] Fourth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, Vol. II, United Nations, New York, 1987.[4] 1979 Demographic Yearbook   [5] Statistical Center of Iran   [6] Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1980 edition. G. & C. Merriam, Springfield, MA, 1980.[7] The Encyclop�dia Britannica World Atlas, 1964 edition.[8] Statistical Center of Iran  
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