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, as of June 2012 (Iranian calendar 1391), the figures are as follows:
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.