Iran is subdivided into thirty-one provinces (Persian: استان Ostān), each governed from a local centre, usually the largest local city, which is called the capital (Persian: مرکز, markaz) of that province. The provincial authority is headed by a Governor-general (Persian: استاندار Ostāndār), who is appointed by the Minister of the Interior subject to approval of the cabinet.
Iran has held its modern territory since the Treaty of Paris in 1857. From 1906 until 1950, Iran was divided into twelve provinces: Ardalan, Azerbaijan, Baluchestan, Fars, Gilan, Araq-e Ajam, Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kerman, Larestan, Lorestan, and Mazandaran.In 1950, Iran was reorganized to form ten numbered provinces with subordinate governorates: Gilan; Mazandaran; East Azerbaijan; West Azerbaijan; Kermanshah; Khuzestan; Fars; Kerman; Khorasan; Isfahan.From 1960 to 1981 the governorates were raised to provincial status one by one. Since then several new provinces have been created, most recently in 2010 when the new Alborz Province was split from Tehran province, and before that in 2004 when the province of Khorasan was divided into three provinces.
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