The airport was used for the first time as an airfield for aviation club planes in 1938, then after World War II along with becoming internationally recognized by joining Iran civil aviation organization to the ICAO in 1949, the airport also became an air force base.
Newly delivered Republic F-84G Thunderjets (fighter) and Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star (trainer) arrived, May 1957 and April 1956, respectively. Iranian Air Force. In 1955 just after construction of first asphalt paved runway a new terminal building (Current Terminal 1) for both international and domestic flights was designed and constructed. Among the designers of the initial modern buildings of the airport was the famous architect William Pereira.
The new Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) was scheduled to open in 2004 with international flights gradually changing from Mehrabad starting with flights to countries bordering the Persian Gulf. After IKA's initial opening in May 2004, due to complications, it was not until the end of 2007 that the plan to move the majority of international flights to the new airport was completed. All international flights have now been moved to IKA.