An earthquake in southeast Iran has killed at least five people and destroyed homes, a regional governor has said.

The quake struck late on Monday in a mountainous region and was given a 6.3 magnitude by the US Geological Survey.

Kerman province is said to be the worst affected area.

"Seven people have been killed and hundreds have been injured. Hundreds of people are still trapped under the rubbles," Esmail Najjar, governor of Iran's Kerman province, the centre of the quake, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

At least three villages were destroyed, leaving hundreds of people trapped under rubble, according to Mehr, a semi-official news agency.

Nine aftershocks

There were nine aftershocks following the earthquake, one that was given a 5 magnitude, according to IRNA, the official news agency.

Mohammad Javad Kamyab, an employee of Kerman province governor's office, said that 30 villages lay in the affected area.

"These villages are not heavily populated ... We are not expecting a high death toll and so far 25 people have been injured," Kamyab said.

Telephone lines were down while rescue teams have been dispatched, according to authorities.

Some reports said that the quake was felt in Sistan-Baluchestan province, including the towns of Zahedan, Bam, Khash and Iranshahr. However, there were no reports of damage in those locations.

In 2003, Bam was the scene of a devastating earthquake that killed more than 26,000 people.

Source: Agencies