As of 1987, Iran was divided into twenty-four provinces (ostans).
Each province was subdivided into several counties (shahrestans).
Shahrestans numbered 195, each of which was centered
on the largest town within its boundaries. Most shahrestans
took their names from those towns that served as county seats.
All of the shahrestans consisted of two or more districts,
or bakhshs. The 498 bakhshs were further subdivided
into rural subdistricts (dehestans). Each dehestan
consisted of several villages dispersed over an average area of
1,600 square kilometers.
The prerevolutionary provincial administrative structure was
still employed in 1987. Thus, each province was headed by a governor
general (ostandar), who was appointed by the minister
of interior. Each county was headed by a governor (farmandar),
also appointed by the minister of interior. Local officials, such
as the chiefs of districts (bakhshdars), rural subdistricts
(dehyars), and villages (kadkhudas--see Glossary),
were appointed by the provincial governors general and county
governors; these local officials served as representatives of
the central government.
Prior to the Revolution, the governor general was the most powerful
person in each province. Since 1979, however, the clerical imam
jomehs, or prayer leaders, have exercised effective political
power at the provincial level. The imam jomeh is the
designated representative of the faqih in each county.
Until 1987 each imam jomeh was appointed from among the
senior clergy of the county. In June 1987, Khomeini approved guidelines
for the election of imam jomehs. The imam jomehs
have tended to work closely with the komitehs (revolutionary
committees) and the Pasdaran, and in most counties these organizations
are subordinate to the imam jomehs.
Data as of December 1987