The petrological and geochronological study of the Cenozoic Shaivar Dagh composite intrusion in the Alborz Mountain belt (NW Iran) reveals important clues to decipher complex relations between magmatic and tectonic processes in the central sectors of the Tethyan (Alpine–Himalayan) orogenic belt. This pluton is formed by intrusion at different times of two main magmatic cycles. The older (Cycle 1) is formed by calc-alkaline silicic rocks, which range in composition from diorites to granodiorites and biotite granites, with abundant mafic microgranular enclaves. The younger cycle (Cycle 2) is formed by K-rich monzodiorite and monzonite of marked shoshonitic affinity. The latter form the larger volumes of the exposed plutonic rocks in the studied complex. Zircon geochronology (laser ablation ICP-MS analyses) gives a concordia age of 30.8 ± 2.1 Ma for the calc-alkaline rocks (Cycle 1) and a range from 23.3 ± 0.5 to 25.1 ± 0.9 Ma for the shoshonitic association (Cycle 2). Major and trace element relations strongly support distinct origins for each magmatic cycle. Rocks of Cycle 1 have all the characteristic features of active continental margins. Shoshonitic rocks (Cycle 2) define two continuous fractionation trends: one departing from a K-rich basaltic composition and the other from an intermediate, K-rich composition. A metasomatized-mantle origin for the two shoshonitic series of Cycle 2 is proposed on the basis of comparisons with experimental data. The origin of the calc-alkaline series is more controversial but it can be attributed to processes in the suprasubduction mantle wedge related to the incorporation of subducted mélanges in the form of silicic cold plumes. A time sequence can be established for the processes responsible of the generation of the two magmatic cycles: first a calc-alkaline cycle typical of active continental margins, and second a K-rich cycle formed by monzonites and monzodiorites. This sequence precludes the younger potassic magmas as precursors of the older calc-alkaline series. By contrast, the older calc-alkaline magmas may represent the metasomatic agents that modified the mantle wedge during the last stages of subduction and cooked a fertile mantle region for late potassic magmatism after continental collision.