This study aims to explore the role and mechanism of circ-IARS in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) progression. Expression of circ-IARS, microRNA (miR)-1252-5p, and hepatoma-derived growth factor (HDGF) was measured by real-time quantitative PCR and western blotting. The interactions among circ-IARS, miR-1252-5p, and HDGF were determined by dual-luciferase reporter assay and RNA immunoprecipitation. Cell behaviors were measured by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) assay, flow cytometry, scratch wound assay, and transwell assay, and validated in in vivo xenograft model. Exosomes were isolated using commercial kit, and the expression and functions of exosomal circ-IARS (exo-circ-IARS) were analyzed as described above. Results showed that the expression of circ-IARS was upregulated in NSCLC cells, NSCLC tissues, and serum exosomes from NSCLC patients. circ-IARS exhaustion antagonized cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, migration, and invasion and promoted apoptosis in NSCLC. Molecularly, circ-IARS could sponge miR-1252-5p to modulate the expression of the downstream gene HDGF. In addition, miR-1252-5p downregulation attenuated circ-IARS exhaustion-mediated effects in H1299 and A549 cells. MiR-1252-5p mimic-induced effects were relieved by increasing HDGF expression in H1299 and A549 cells. Exo-circ-IARS promoted H460 cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and inhibited cell apoptosis. Silencing circ-IARS retarded tumor growth of NSCLC cells in vivo . Thus, circ-IARS, secreted by exosomes, was a novel oncogene in NSCLC and regulated the malignant development of NSCLC cells via circ-IARS/miR-1252-5p/HDGF competing endogenous RNA regulatory axis.