Why is rhn_register failing with "Connection timed out" error when I specify the IP address for xmlrpc.rhn.redhat.com in /etc/hosts?

Solution Verified - Updated -

Issue

Attempting to register the system with rhn_register fails with a "connection timed out" error. Sames with telnet on both HTTPS and HTTP ports.

Environment

RHEL

direct connection to the internet (no proxy)

firewall is restricting access to the internet but is set up to allow connection to Red Hat Network as per https://access.redhat.com/kb/docs/DOC-11214

there is an entry for xmlrpc.rhn.redhat.com in /etc/hosts

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