A powerful earthquake has struck southeast Iran near the border with Pakistan where 35 people were killed.

The earthquake measuring 7.8 magnitude destroyed hundreds of houses and shook buildings as far away as India and Gulf Arab states.

Communications in the area, a sparsely populated desert and mountain region, were largely cut and hindered preliminary reports of casualties in Iran.

An Iranian provincial governor later said there were no reports of deaths there so far.

The epicentre was far from any of Iran's nuclear facilities.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 11.44am Irish time at a depth of 15.2km.

The epicentre was 201km southeast of Zahedan and 250km northwest of Turbat in Pakistan, it said.

Pakistani officials said at least eight people were killed and 20 injured in the town of Mashkeel in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.

Mohammed Ashraf, head of a health centre in Mashkeel, said several hundred houses in the town had collapsed.

Three women and two children were also killed when their mud house collapsed in the Baluchistan district of Panjgur.

Last week, a 6.1 magnitude quake in the country killed 37 people and destroyed dozens of villages.