A powerful earthquake has struck a sparsely-populated area of Iran's Persian Gulf coastline, killing at least 10 people and injuring scores of others.

Iran's official news agency says a 5.9 magnitude quake struck in mid-afternoon Sunday near the island of Qeshm. The agency said local hospitals were full of injured people.

There were no reports of large-scale damage or injuries in the nearby mainland port city of Bandar Abbas.

Authorities say Qeshm city also escaped major damage, which was largely confined to about a half dozen villages on the west end of the island.

Qeshm is the largest Iranian island in the Persian Gulf, and home to 100,000 people.

In February, a 6.4 magnitude quake to the north of Qeshm in the Iranian town of Zarand killed more than 600 people. Two years ago, the southeastern city of Bam was leveled by a 6.7 magnitude quake that left more than 31,000 dead.