At least seven people have died and hundreds more injured in a 6.5-magnitude earthquake which struck southeastern Iran, Mehr news agency has reported.
The quake, late on Monday with an epicentre near the town of Hosseinabad in Kerman province, was followed by 22 tremors, including one of 5.0 magnitude, the agency said quoting the geophysics department of Tehran university.
"So far damages have been concentrated in villages in the areas of Sahraj and seven dead and hundreds of injured have been removed from the debris," Mehr quoted the Kerman governor Esmail Najjar as saying.
"Considering the damages the death toll is expected to rise," he said.
The quake struck at 10.12pm (6.42pm GMT) on Monday and was even felt in the bordering province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
Mohsen Salehi, the head of disaster management of Kerman province, told the state news agency IRNA that the communication lines in the area were down and the quake was followed by mild tremors.
State media reported that the quake affected region was largely mountainous and hence access to it was cut off making it difficult for relief to reach the victims.
Hosseinabad lies near the city of Bam, the site of the deadliest earthquake to hit Iran in recent times.
The 6.3-magnitude temblor in December 2003 killed 31,000 people, about a quarter of Bam's population, and destroyed the city's ancient mud-built citadel.