LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Vodafone said it would partner with Iranian internet company HiWeb to help it modernise its mobile network and IT infrastructure, making the British mobile phone group the latest western company to operate in Iran after sanctions were lifted.

Vodafone, the world's second-largest mobile firm that operates across Europe, Africa, Australia and Egypt, said by providing assistance to HiWeb as part of a non-equity partner deal, its own multinational corporate customers would benefit from improved fixed-line and mobile services in the country.

"Vodafone's corporate customers will get the benefit of quality network services in the country and HiWEB will be able to access Vodafone's global expertise," Vodafone Partner Markets Chief Executive Diego Massidda said in a statement on Tuesday.

Many European companies have sought exposure to Iran after U.S. sanctions over its nuclear programme were lifted in January.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton) ((; +44 20 7542 1109; Reuters Messaging: