Raghad who holds a BA in translation from Arabic into English and vice versa, says she has responsibilities towards her father and Iraq.

"I am the daughter of Saddam, my mother is Saddam's wife, and my children are the grandchildren of Saddam," she told the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Tuesday.

"You do not understand, but I have commitments. I bear his name and he depends on me."

"He needs my help after the death of my brothers. I am the only one... and today I have to help my father," she said.

Her brothers, Udai and Qusai, were killed in an armed confrontation with US occupation forces in Mosul in July 2003.

Saddam's heir

Raghad, who has lived in seclusion in Jordan with her sister Rana since last year, told the newspaper she has received support from many Iraqis.

"That is why nobody can ask me to be other than a politician," she said. "This is my life, my future and the people look at me as Saddam's heir."

"I am the daughter of Saddam, my mother is Saddam's wife, and my children are the grandchildren of Saddam."

Raghad Saddam Hussein

Raghad's statements and involvement in politics had triggered the Jordanian government to ask her to remain quiet and not to engage herself with media.

But her father's lawyers in a previous interview with Aljazeera.net denied any pressure by the Jordanian government on their client's family.

Unconfirmed reports suggested the organisations of Arab Baath Socialist Party in Iraq and Jordan had asked Raghad to assume her responsibilities as her father's heir and start a political career.

Sources close to Saddam Hussein's family have told Aljazeera.net calls for former Iraqi officials to form a government in exile were gaining ground.

Raghad said she did not have enough money to fulfil her father's lawyers' demands. She said she had advised the legal team to enlist an American lawyer, who she thought could be useful to her father.

"I do not have any money, we were left with nothing," she said. "But I do not care for the money. I am the daughter of Saddam, and I do not want money from anybody...  I have my pride."

Former defector

Raghad said her father did not look well in his televised court hearing on 1 July. "We tried to obtain some information from the International Committee of the Red Cross on his health situation, but couldn't get anything."

Jordan's King Abd Allah granted the two sisters humanitarian asylum after the collapse of Saddam's government. The two sisters had been to Jordan in 1995, when they escorted their husbands Husayn and Saddam Kamil who defected to Jordan. 

The two defectors and their wives and children returned to Iraq when Saddam pardoned them, but they were killed days later by fellow tribesmen who considered the pair traitors for revealing sensitive material to the CIA.

Reasons behind the defection of Lieutenant General Husayn Kamil, who was the minister of industry and minerals, head of the military industrial organisation, and the man responsible for the development of Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programme are still controversial.

Husayn's brother Saddam Kamil was Saddam Hussein's bodyguard and one of the very few people who could enter the president's room while he was asleep.