"New York Times's" The Lede blog has posted a translation of Kiarostami's letter. Kiarostami says in his open letter that Iran's Culture Ministry is directly responsible for the arrest of Panahi and others like him.
Jafar Panahi and Mahmoud Rasoulof are two filmmakers of the Iranian independent cinema, a cinema that for the past quarter of a century has served as an essential cultural element in expanding the name of this country across the globe. They belong to an expanded world culture, and are a part of international cinematic culture. I wish for their immediate release from prison knowing that the impossible is possible. My heartfelt wish is that artists no longer be imprisoned in this country because of their art and that the independent and young Iranian cinema no longer faces obstacles, lack of support, attention and prejudice.