At least 37 people were killed and more than 850 were injured in a 6.3-magnitude earthquake near Bushehr in southern Iran, ISNA, the Iranian students news agency, reported.

The earthquake, measuring magnitude 6.3, struck on Tuesday 89 kilometers southeast of the city of Bushehr in Iran, where the country's only nuclear power station is located, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The nearby Bushehr nuclear plant was undamaged, according to Iranian officials and the Russian company that built it. However, the temblor totally destroyed one village, a Red Crescent official told ISNA.

Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud bricks, which have been known to crumble easily in quake-prone Iran. Some 700 homes were destroyed, the governor of Bushehr province, Fereydoun Hassanvand, told the Mehr news agency.

The Iranian Seismological Centre at the University of Tehran reported a quake of 6.1 magnitude whose epicentre was Kaki, around 60 miles south of Bushehr, a port city on the Gulf.

Reuters witnesses felt the quake across the Gulf in Dubai, and Twitter users in Bahrain reported that offices in Manama had been evacuated after it struck.

While initial fears about nuclear fallout receded, nearer the epicenter the rescue efforts ramped up into the night in search of survivors and to feed and house hundreds of residents who were traumatized by at least 16 aftershocks.

A Red Crescent official told ISNA that 20 people had been saved by rescue teams searching through the rubble.

The USGS said the quake struck at 1152 GMT at a depth of 10 km.