At least 20 villagers were killed, scores injured and more than 12,000 left homeless by a powerful earthquake that jolted a mountainous region of southern Iran, Tehran's official media reported Wednesday.

They reported a dozen villages damaged, two of them completely destroyed, in the temblor in Fars province on Tuesday night.The Islamic Republic News Agency said 21 people were killed, 80 injured and 12,105 rendered homeless. Tehran Radio said 22 were killed and 100 injured.

The radio, monitored in Nicosia, said most of the victims were children who were sleeping when the quake struck at 9:47 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey said initial readings put the magnitude of the quake at 7.0 on the Richter scale. Iran's Geophysics Center of Tehran University said it measured 6.6.