Iranian threats to close the Hormuz waterway have been a recurrent theme in Western relations with the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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Oman, which faces Iran across the Strait of Hormuz, said it's poised to start raising cash for a $3 billion rail line offering an alternative route for oil and freight shipments that funnel through the 21 mile-wide channel.Oman wants to push on with its leg of the so-called Gulf Cooperation Council Railway due to stretch 1,350 miles from the borders of Iraq to the shores of the Indian Ocean by 2018 just as nations including Kuwait – which have less to gain from the project – say they'll struggle to meet agreed deadlines.Rather than hugging the coast to reach Oman, the line will take the shortest route east from Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, crossing the border from the United Arab Emirates near the city of Al-Ain before plowing for 100 miles through the Hajar Mountains, which rise to 10,000 feet, and reaching the ocean near Suhar, 150 miles north of Omani capital, Muscat.
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