The Persian Gulf is now being called the Arabian Gulf by the Defense Department "out of sensitivity to a number of countries in the region" {Style, Sept 1}. Although the Islamic Republic has terrorized the region for the past eight years, Iran has made many historical contributions throughout its 3,000 years of existence.

The Persian Empire brought peace, justice and prosperity to the region at a time when the unity of the Middle East had been destroyed following the collapse of the Assyrian Empire. Subsequently, the Persian form of government was adopted by succeeding rulers for more than 2,000 years, becoming a basic part of Middle Eastern civilization.

The Persians also made early progress in communications and transportation. Moreover, Iran's influence in the spheres of religion, art, literature, architecture, science and philosophy fostered the evolution of world civilization.

Thus, changing the name of a geographic region because of the theocratic tyranny that characterizes Iran today is an affront to the Iranian people and to Iran as a nation. In view of the likelihood that the United States and Iran will enjoy a fruitful relationship again after the demise of the Khomeini regime, the policy of the Defense Department is misguided and ought to be abandoned.

NAZENIN ANSARI

Washington